Graham hails victory in Atwick phone box campaign
Atwick Parish Council and MP Graham Stuart are celebrating after a last-minute reprieve from BT for the Atwick red phone box. Hundreds of residents took the time to fill in the village survey to say that they emphatically wanted to see the return of a K6 red phone box on the village green.
On 13 May a car crashed into the fully-operational phone box on the beautiful village green in Atwick, destroying it; in early June BT put up a notice on the site to say they had removed the remains of the box and that anyone who wished to comment on this should contact East Riding Council.
Mike Crowther, Chairman of Atwick Parish Council said “The telephone box had Listed Building status which the Parish Council gained in order to preserve the unique visual aspect of Atwick village green. Atwick is a tourist village and in a conservation area. The phone box was an important part of the village both visually and, equally significantly, as a vital resource.
“Mobile phone signal is patchy here and, with the community-access defibrillator a few metres away on the outside wall of the Black Horse Pub, the Parish Council believes emphatically that a working K6 phone box needs to be reinstated as quickly as possible. The Parish Council carried out a local survey to establish the extent of support for the reinstatement of the phone box, and the result is that the community is overwhelmingly in favour of it – that is overwhelmingly in favour of a working telephone box housed in a refurbished K6 box. The Parish Council submitted its comments, and the results of the survey to East Riding Council, to pass on to BT’s consultation.
“But we remained concerned that was not enough to save the box, and so called on our local MP, Graham Stuart, for help. That was the game-changer. The Parish Council is very grateful to Mr Stuart for stepping in directly with BT on our behalf and getting them to make an exception in our case. ”
Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness commented:
“I was shocked to see the devastation to the phone box caused by the crash. I love to drive through Atwick and see the lovely old Grade II Listed red BT phone box on the green. The Parish Council wants to see the box back, residents do, and so do I.
“The K6 telephone box is a cultural icon, one of the few pieces of street furniture we got right in the 20th century. These phone boxes are wonderful parts of our local landscape, important to our tourism industry, and this one provides a vital service in a village with poor mobile signal, especially as there is a defibrillator only a few metres away.
“I got in contact with BT immediately to tell them I want to see a refurbished K6 box put back, and last week they told me it couldn’t be done; they said they never replace the red phone boxes when they have to be removed for any reason as they’re too expensive to maintain.
“The Parish Council and I were extremely disappointed to put it mildly; we want a working phone box there, but a red one, not a modern one which would be out of keeping with the conservation village. I made one last intervention with senior BT managers, and the Parish Council and I are delighted with BT’s response. They see how important the red phone box is to this beautiful village, have shown admirable flexibility in their policy, and it is a really human response from a large company. Thanks to BT, everyone in the village can now look forward to a replacement red telephone box in working order on the wonderful village green.”
August 3rd, 2017