Perusing the minutes from the Ladder Community Safety Partnership (LCSP), I noticed an item about the open-style telephone kiosks.
The ones that appeared in the last 18 months have been bugging me for some time as they are clearly just a backdoor way of getting an advertising hoarding on an already cluttered pavement (I mean, have you actually ever seen anyone make a call from one?).
Given the competition for space on our pavements, we really don't need them taking over more precious room. Moreover, the promised tree planted for each new kiosk never materialised. Another con it would seem.
Until now planning permission was not needed for a telephone kiosk, which in the past made sense or else how would teenage romances have been conducted, phone calls home to Mum and Dad made and emergency services been summoned? I'm old enough not just to remember the queues at the phone box but to have stood in them with my pile of 10ps ready as I was banned from using the home phone (emergencies only) to conduct my "business".
However, the rise of the mobile phone has increasingly made the kiosk obsolete leaving them as eyesores taking up valuable pedestrian space.
Help is now at hand for councils to deal with this latest scourge, the telephone "kiosk" that's actually just an advert hoarding with a ruling in the High Court on 12th January in favour of Westminster Council that removes telephone boxes from "permitted development" to needing planning permission. You can read more about the case here
Hopefully this will now give our own council greater powers in dealing with the Telecoms companies in preventing further eyesores being erected and also, fingers crossed, getting some of the existing ones removed more easily.
No it won’t be retrospective.
There is so much advertising around. How is it legal and graffiti isn't?
The one at the end of Kimberley Gardens is used by day as a shelter for a homeless guy. I suppose you have to step over him to make a call. But who makes calls from a public phone these days.
I think a lot of phone kiosks house the gear for public wifi networks so I don't suppose they will be going away for a while.
If that is their only function, you can do that without advertising billboards obscructing the pavements. And the only public wi-fi network in Harringay seems to operate from the Central Library.