Hornsey Town Hall phone boxes kept for ‘prime advertising’ purposes

Activists Sue Hessel and Amanda Carrara are trying to get BT to remove the phone boxes. Photo: Nige

Activists Sue Hessel and Amanda Carrara are trying to get BT to remove the phone boxes. Photo: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Campaigners are up in arms against “garish” phone boxes in front of Hornsey Town Hall, which BT say are in “prime advertising locations” - although apparently are not often used for calls.

Community activist Sue Hessel plans to plant flowers ahead of the community Crouch End Festival in June.

But she says four BT phone boxes, two boasting adverts for cake and beer, no longer serve a purpose, block the view of the town hall green and are “inappropriate and garish”.

BT will only remove some of the phone boxes if the cost - up to £15,000 - is paid by the requester.

Haringey Council senior project engineer Franco Cioffi said: “I have been advised that the removal of these kiosks will not be considered by BT as they are in prime advertising locations.

“While call usage is not very high they are still profit making boxes.

“BT would only consider the removal of some of the boxes if the full cost (up to £15,000) of this was paid.”

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The phone boxes are not subject to planning consent and the council cannot stop BT advertising.

Ms Hessel said: “People have mobile phones these days and anyway there are still other phone boxes nearby.

“These boxes are used as urinals for drunks and to make money for BT as hoardings for tacky adverts like KFC.

“They make our streets look ugly and undo all the work to make Crouch End look attractive.”

She added: “For the last two years we have been meeting up to improve the look of the town hall green.

“We have put all this effort in which is just all being undone by the advertisements.”

“These adverts were designed to scream at us and we are just being assaulted all the time.”

A BT spokesman, said: “There is a significant cost involved in removing phone boxes. However, as we have no current plans to remove these boxes, we haven’t provided a formal breakdown of the costs involved. The four phone boxes in question are still being used and are providing a service to members of the public. Revenue generated by advertising on our kiosks helps us maintain many unprofitable boxes in areas of the country where a public telephone service is still needed.”