Neighbours call for ‘eyesore’ telephone box to be removed

jpco-24-4-13 Tlephone box in Cherry Lane, Langley Green. Crawley (Pic by Jon Rigby)

jpco-24-4-13 Tlephone box in Cherry Lane, Langley Green. Crawley (Pic by Jon Rigby)

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A phone box described as an ‘eye sore’ and a ‘magnet for vandalism’ could cost the council £17,000 to remove.

Crawley Borough Council (CBC) has been quoted £15,000 to £17,000 to relocate a run down phone box in Cherry Lane, Langley Green.

Cllr Brenda Smith (Lab, Langley Green) said she and other residents were ‘very cross’ that the box may now be left in their neighbourhood because it is too expensive to remove.

She said: “The local residents tell me it’s been more out of use than in use over the last few years.

“There’s not a phone in it. There’s not a window in it. It’s a heap. It’s an eyesore and it’s a magnet for vandalism.

“They’ve inspected it and they are still saying it’s a viable telephone box. It wouldn’t even keep you dry if it was raining.

“They said they have a duty to provide public telephone boxes which is fair enough but this one is never in service so it’s no benefit to the community.”

CBC is in the process of administering a Street Scene Improvement Scheme in Cherry Lane - costing around £130,000 - to improve road circulation, protect the environment and increase parking.

Cllr Smith added: “The council are investing tens of thousands of pounds in Cherry Lane but there’s a telephone box which is completely and utterly vandalised.”

A spokesman for CBC said: “The estimate of £15,000-£17,000 given by BT relates to the cost of removing the existing one and relocating it, which is an option BT has given us. The cost of completely removing the phone box and not replacing it hasn’t been given as BT has said that this is not an option.”

BT informed the council it had replaced the hand set twice since July 2012.

Cllr Smith said she had regularly checked the box since November 2012 and had never seen a handset in there.

A BT spokesman, said: “We are not in favour of removing the kiosk, as we feel that removal would not address the root cause of this criminal behaviour. In many cases removing a kiosk just moves the vandalism to another part of the area.”