Village’s iconic red phone box is to be axed

GOING The red phone box in North Road, Horndean, which is being removed
GOING The red phone box in North Road, Horndean, which is being removed
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IT’S an iconic symbol of Britishness and famous across the world.

But shiny red phone boxes across the Portsmouth area are becoming few and far between – with yet another one now consigned to the scrapheap.

Councillors at East Hampshire District Council will ask BT to remove a red kiosk in North Road, Horndean, after it went to rack and ruin.

Sixteen glass panels were smashed up by vandals and only 10 phone calls were made in a whole year.

The removal will reduce the number of red phone boxes across Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Waterlooville to 20.

Cllr Guy Shepherd, who represents Horndean, wanted to save the box and have it movedit to the centre of Horndean or Catherington.

But BT said it would not do this, nor spend money refurbishing it.

Cllr Shepherd said: ‘The traditional red phone box is iconic – perfect for villages like Catherington and the centre of Horndean.

‘I know why they are not doing it, because it’s £4,000 to move a box that doesn’t derive an income.’

But Cllr Shepherd admitted the phone box in North Road should be removed.

He explained: ‘It is a shame to ask BT to remove the kiosk but it is in a very poor condition and attracts anti-social behaviour.

‘We also looked into the possibility of using the kiosk as a community facility but no funding or registers of interest were forthcoming.’

In contrast, Havant Civic Society was able to convince BT earlier this year to refurbish the town’s last remaining red phone box in West Street.

‘The box is a listed building and, unlike Horndean, is used regularly.

Red phone booths were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and first appeared as a result of a competition in 1924 to design a kiosk.

By the 1990s, thousands were removed for a modern steel design.

A spokesman for BT said it was not a simple task to move the booth in Horndean.

He said: ‘We would not relocate it to the centre of the village. When a red phone box is removed, there’s a risk of structural damage to it.

‘We can’t just go out and plonk it somewhere else as it’s made of cast iron. We don’t re-use them afterwards I’m afraid.’

THE LAST ONES STANDING IN OUR AREA ARE REVEALED...

Portsmouth: Junction of High Street and Grand Parade, junction of Tower Street and Broad Street, Broad Street, Albert Road, Cromwell Road.

Havant: West Street.

Fareham: Two in West Street, Bridge Road in Sarisbury Green, Botley Road in Burridge, Hunts Pond Road, High Street in Titchfield, junction of Winnards Park and Barnes Lane in Sarisbury Green, Catisfield Lane, junction of Pitch Pond Road and Osborne Road in Warsash, Highlands Road.

Gosport: Anthony Grove, junction of Grove Road and St Thomas’s Road, junction of Haslar Road and South Street, junction of Clayhall Road and Anglesey Road.