Peterborough city phone box plans to be put on hold

The proposed site of one of the phone boxes
The proposed site of one of the phone boxes
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Plans to build nearly a dozen telephone boxes in Peterborough city centre are to be rejected.

Proposals were submitted to Peterborough City Council to build the 10 solar powered phone booths in historic Cathedral Square, Bridge Street and Long Causeway by Infocus Public Networks earlier this year.

However, today Peterborough City Council confirmed the plans would be rejected.

Following the applications, leader of Peterborough City Council cllr John Holdich said he was ‘appalled’ by the proposals, and said they were not needed.

Last month he said: “ “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.”

In January, Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s planning spokesman, said the issue of phone boxes appearing in many city’s had been a problem. He said ; “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.”

Peterborough City council said the plans were being rejected on a number of grounds.

The reasons for rejection include:

1. Impediment to the free flow of pedestrians posing an unacceptable highway impact;

2. Increased street furniture clutter which harms the character, appearance and visual amenity of the streetscene and surrounding area;

3. Harm to the setting of Listed Buildings, Buildings of Local Importance and/or the City Centre Conservation Area; and

4. Impediment to CCTV coverage which the Police considers poses an unacceptable crime and anti-social behaviour risk.

The council said they expect Infocus to appeal against the decision to reject the plans.