Iconic Bamburgh phone box set to be saved by heritage group

An iconic red phone box in Bamburgh is set to be taken on by a local community group.

Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 1:00 pm

BT is currently consulting on the removal of 49 public payphones across Northumberland, including the one on Front Street captured in so many photographs of the village and castle.

Bamburgh Parish Council has agreed to put in a request to ‘adopt’ the phone box for £1.

Responsibility for its upkeep would then transfer to Bamburgh Heritage Group, which had previously expressed interest.

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Sam Morton, heritage group chairman, said: “We will have to wait until the consultation period is over but if no-one is objecting, I don’t think they’re going to say anything other than they are getting rid of it.

“We’ve got a few ideas for the heritage trust to raise a bit of money and make use of it without changing anything about it really. It’s at the heart of the landscape.

"We were batting ideas around last time and came up with two or three ideas of what to do with it. Some people have done very elaborate miniature visitor centres and displays.

"We would be more than happy to take it on and make sure it stays there. That’s really what we’re about.”

Parish councillors gave their approval after hearing the pay phone is currently used twice a month on average.

Coun Andy Bardgett said: “It’s hard to argue that it’s necessary to keep it.”

Coun Kirsty Dobson added: “It’s making it useful that’s the key.”

The potential for the village defibrillator to be moved there was suggested.

Swap book shops have also been introduced in other areas, although there were concerns about exposure to the elements.

"I love the idea but the driving rain might just everything into papier-mâché,” said Coun Dobson.

Coun Barbara Brook, chairman, noted: “It is quite an icon and it is featured in every photograph you see down the high street and obviously it’s been there a long time.”

BT says the 49 public payphones earmarked for removal are not being used enough, pointing out that their overall use has declined by over 90 per cent in the last decade with mobile coverage steadily increasing.

The consultation period ends on September 28.

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