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Iconic red phone boxes face the axe

PUBLISHED: 13:23 30 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:33 07 September 2010

A traditional phonebox in South Grove, Highgate

A traditional phonebox in South Grove, Highgate

A LAST-DITCH promise by council chiefs is the only thing which can stop Hampstead's iconic red telephone boxes being cut off by BT. Two phoneboxes on Hampstead High Street are among thousands being axed across the country and local people are calling on t

A LAST-DITCH promise by council chiefs is the only thing which can stop Hampstead's iconic red telephone boxes being cut off by BT.

Two phoneboxes on Hampstead High Street are among thousands being axed across the country and local people are calling on the council to step in.

David Evans, from the Heath and Hampstead Society, said: "It seems absurd when Hampstead has taken the trouble of preserving the original post box that the phone boxes should be destroyed. They are both uniquely historic things that contribute hugely to the environment.

"I do not have a mobile phone and I actually use the boxes. Not only are they historic and beautiful, they should also be preserved for use."

BT offered the council two choices in August - pay £500 per year to keep each phone box running or adopt the box for £1 and BT will remove the phone. Camden Council has two days left to decide, but says it is still in talks about what to do. A total of 74 boxes are being closed across the borough because of low usage, 15 of which are the traditional red.

Gordon Maclean, from the Heath and Hampstead Society, said: "We don't think much of the plan to get rid of the red telephone boxes. We are calling on the council to adopt them before they are removed. As pieces of street furniture they must remain."

A spokesman for BT said: "During the consultation process a number of suggestions have been voiced. Local authorities which wish to maintain red telephone boxes - minus the telephone equipment - for aesthetic or heritage reasons will be able to do so.

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