Leader appalled by ‘trojan’ phone box plans for Peterborough city centre

Plans for the new phone boxes
Plans for the new phone boxes
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Plans to install nearly a dozen new ‘trojan’ phone boxes in Peterborough city centre have been slammed as ‘appalling’ by the leader of the city council.

Infocus Public Networks have submitted proposals for 10 solar powered boxes, to be placed in historic Cathedral Square, Bridge Street and Long Causeway.

Earlier this year, The Local Government Association (LGA) hit out at firms applying for planning permission for phone boxes in cities across the country, and using them as advertising hoardings.

Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich said: “Personally, I am appalled by the applications.

“I really don’t see the need for them – most people have mobile phones now, and we have free wi-fi in the city centre.

“We have worked hard to make the city centre an attractive place, and this will make it look cluttered.

“There is a BT phone box on Bridge Street near the Argo Lounge that I pass two or three times a day, and I never see it being used.

“I guess it is planned they will be used for advertising – which is not what we want.”

A spokesman for Peterborough City Council added: “If the phone boxes are being proposed only on the basis of income that would be generated from advertising then we would be disappointed.

“However, the council can only resist the proposals if they are unsatisfactory on the grounds of the siting and/or the appearance of the boxes themselves.”

In January, Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s planning spokesman, said: “While there is still a limited need for some telephone boxes in our town centres and cities, for example for emergencies, the number of applications councils have seen is simply staggering.

“Companies are exploiting a loophole in the law to allow what is tantamount to Trojan telephone boxes being used as advertising spaces rather than the original purpose of providing a place for people to use a phone.

“As a result pedestrians are being bombarded with a series of eyesores that blight the public highway.”

No further details about the phone boxes was revealed in the planning applications, other than to reveal they would be about 2.5m tall.