Calls for removal of South End Green phone box
- Credit: Nathalie Raffray
Calls are being made to remove a phone box in South End Green which is a "magnet for drug dealers".
The BT-owned telephone box sits on the corner of St Crispin's Close, near both Hampstead Station and Hampstead Heath.
Susan West, chair of the Hampstead Town Safer Neighbourhood Panel (SNP), said she tried to get the phone box removed in 2020 but "BT were having none of it".
"There's no way BT will remove it as the level of mischief isn't high enough. We've not seen anyone use that phone box for a very long time. They take drugs, they sell drugs, it's disgusting.'
"Because modern kiosks are designed to carry advertising, the inside is totally obscured, so they have become very unsafe spaces."
Hampstead Town councillor Stephen Stark (Con) said he has written to the telecoms giant asking for phone boxes to be maintained.
"First of all they should maintain their phone boxes and make sure that the phones are working.
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"If we can ascertain how much the phone is used, if at all, it will give a firm string to the argument of whether they should be removed."
Former Hampstead Town councillor Oliver Cooper raised the issue in committee meetings in 2020 and 2021 and said both Camden Council and the police have the power to get the phone box removed.
He said: "The police has the power to issue notice of closure on any premises, including telephone boxes whose use gives rise to crime or anti social behaviour. That power can be used against BT if the police think there's a reasonable case to close it and I think they should."
A Camden Council spokesperson said: “The council is aware of reports of anti-social behaviour at this location and are monitoring this with the police and will take any necessary action where required.”
A BT spokesperson said people should report criminal behaviour to the police.
“At present we do not plan to remove this phone box and have an obligation to provide payphone facilities for local communities which can offer a valuable and often overlooked service," they said.
"While crime and anti-social behaviour are police matters, we remain committed to working closely with the authorities and local communities to help where we can.”