Phonebox at Stilton with parish councillors Mark Angus and John Leonard EMN-210317-114902009

Peterborough communities urged to get engaged with scheme to adopt a phone box for £1

Communities are being urged to get engaged with a new scheme to ensure classic red phone boxes remain a key part of neighbourhoods around Peterborough.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 6:06 am

British Telecom are giving council and organisations the chance to ‘adopt a phone box’ for just one pound, to make sure the traditional kiosks remain on British streets - despite the rise and rise of mobile phones.

Across the country the iconic boxes, which were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott have already been put to a range of uses - from housing life saving defibrillators to micro-libraries - and even mini museums celebrating an area’s history.

Three of the phone boxes up for adoption are in the Peterborough City Council boundaries, with the parish council in Stilton already having agreed to adopt one in their village, just outside the city boundary.

Chairman of Stilton Parish Council, Mark Angus, said the council had still not decided what to do with the box, which is located on North Street, and will be asking villagers to give their opinions on what can be done.

He said; “the Parish Council have recently signed a contract with BT to adopt it. They have yet to determine a use for it but will be seeking the views of the community in this respect. There seems to be a good number of potential uses, at present anything is up for grabs.”

The three boxes in the council area are all in the north of the city, with one on Wisbech Road, Thorney, one on Maxey Road, Helpston, and one on Barnack Road, Bainton.

Barnack councillor David Over, whose ward covers Helpston and Bainton, said communities had already taken up the offer to adopt a phone box in other areas.

He said: “The red phone box is iconic, and has been part of the furniture for a long time.

“The boxes are not really needed for phones now, and a number of them have been adopted by communities in my ward.

“Many have been used to put defibrillators in, which is of great use in areas where we are so far away from the hospital.”

Eye, Thorney and Newborough councillor Steve Allen said the adoption scheme would allow Thorney to celebrate its heritage.

He said; “I think its great to see the iconic Sir Giles Gilbert Scott red phone boxes being repurposed to provide the community facilities - the use of the boxes as book exchanges, defibrillator stations or even art galleries or mini museums present great opportunities.

“In Thorney with its heritage status, any of those options would be fantastic and I’m sure well supported.”

Jon Pollock, BT Enterprise unit director for the East of England, said: “With most people now using mobile phones, it’s led to a huge drop in the number of calls made from payphones. At the same time, mobile coverage has improved significantly in recent years due to investment in masts, particularly in rural areas.

“We’re currently rationalising our payphone estate to make it fit for the future, and the ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme makes it possible for local communities in the East of England to retain their local phone box, with a refreshed purpose for the community.

“Thousands of communities have already come up with a fantastic array of ideas to re-use their beloved local phone box. Applying is quick and easy and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our phone boxes.”

For further details on how to apply to Adopt a Kiosk, visit www.bt.com/adopt where application forms and information can be found.

A spokesman for BT said: “We will consider all adoption requests. However, there may be occasional reasons why a particular box may not be able to be adopted, for example if it is required to be retained by BT for another purpose.”

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