Historic red BT phone box in Sarisbury Green to see new lease of life

A RED telephone box has reached the end of the line – but a bright future calls thanks to a £600 council grant to ring the changes on its use.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 4:49 pm
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 3:23 pm

The BT box, which has been in Bridge Road, Sarisbury Green, for more than 40 years, has been used just nine times since January 2019.

It was due to be removed due to its infrequent use, but its number is not yet up as Fareham Borough Council has agreed to spend £600 to refurbish the rusting box and give it a new lease of life – and wants suggestions from residents on what it should become.

The proposal is part of BT’s Adopt A Kiosk Scheme, which has seen local councils across the country turn their under-used public telephones into defibrillator stations, mini-libraries, and cake shops.

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The inside of the phone box has begun to rust - but will be refurbished thanks to £600 from the council.

Councillor Sean Woodward, who put forward the proposal at a meeting of the council’s executive on Monday, said: ‘It’s in a conservation area, and these telephone boxes are fast disappearing.

‘I'm keen to find a new use in due course.’

A total of 86 payphones have been adopted and adapted across the Southampton area and three in the Portsmouth region, with more than 6,000 being transformed across the UK.

In 2018, Kingsbridge Town Council, in Devon, turned one of their town’s boxes into a tiny one-person night club – but Cllr Woodward believes another idea will appeal to Sarisbury residents.

The phone box on Bridge Road, Sarisbury Green.

He said: 'I'm not sure that will go down well here.

‘Some councils have turned telephone boxes into lending libraries, and some have filled them with flowers.’

Local residents already have a variety of ideas for the box.

Ashley Kemp, from Alison Road, said it could become a vending machine or ‘the world’s smallest’ cinema’ – but believe the money was needed elsewhere.

The telephone box was used just nine times since January 2019.

He said: ‘There are many more things that need sorting, rather than changing a telephone box.’

RK Marine engineer Martin Jerome agreed it was ‘a fair bit of money’ to spend on one kiosk, but thought the council should think big for the small space.

The 36-year-old said: ‘It could be a Chinese takeaway.

‘I’m not sure how it would work - but it would be good.’

The phone box in Sarisbury Green. Residents have already suggestion the box become a vending machine or a takeaway

The telephone box will be bought for £1 from BT, who will continue to provide electricity free of charge to power the adopted kiosk.