APPLICATIONS for ‘useless’ phone boxes in the city have led Portsmouth councillors to call for a change to the law.
After plans for new pay phones weren’t approved by the council last year, five applications for boxes on Commercial Road are now under consideration by a government inspectorate.
If the application from Euro-payphone Ltd is successful the phone boxes will be placed outside Lloyds Bank, Marks & Spencers, The Co-operative Bank, HSBC and Portsmouth and Southsea train station. Currently there are almost 20 phone boxes on the city’s high street.
However, the plans have been dismissed by councillors as a way to sell more advertising.
Leader of the Lib Dem party, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘People don’t really use them any more. Almost everybody now has a mobile phone. They’re useless to most people.
‘It’s just an excuse for companies to advertise, and it’s a national problem. It’s an easy way to get permission for a big advertisement.
‘The law needs to catch up with technology has taken us. It would be good if MPs took this into consideration.’
Tory councillor Luke Stubbs agreed. ‘There’s absolutely no justification for there to be more phone boxes on Commercial Road,’ he said. ‘There are already dozens. Very few calls are actually made on them, they’re obsolete. People just don’t use them.
‘They’re cluttering up Commercial Road, we don’t need to fill the whole area with more.’
‘There are more phone boxes now than in the past, and it’s all so money can be made from advertising.
He added: ‘At one time it would have made sense but these days there is no need for them.’
A decision date has yet to be announced.
Euro-payphone Ltd was unavailable for comment.