Takeaway reuse thwarted at listed telephone kiosk

Heritage concerns have led an inspector to dismiss plans to convert a grade II listed red telephone box in central London into a takeaway kiosk.

The iconic K6 type telephone box was one of a pair sited in a historic part of the city and was due to be decommissioned by BT. The proposed works involved removal of the telephone and related fittings. While agreeing that other minor alterations would cause no harm, the inspector considered that the loss of this evidence of the kiosk’s original function would fail to preserve its special interest.

The proposed use entailed locating, through not fixing, bulky equipment inside the box, which the inspector decided would give an impression of solidity and impair appreciation of its glazed design. This effect would be compounded by the kiosks door being kept open during trading, he added. He recognised the public benefits of securing future regular maintenance of the kiosk’s fabric, which was already showing signs of disuse and misuse, and the employment of homeless people by the charitable enterprise behind the proposal.

Nonetheless, he was not satisfied that a takeaway was the optimum viable use or that it would preserve the special interest of the kiosk, the setting of nearby listed buildings or the character and appearance of a prominent conservation area. He also found harm and conflict with the development plan in terms of an adverse effect on convenience and pedestrian safety at a pinch point on a busy footway. He refused planning permission and listed building consent.

Inspector: Gareth Fort; Written representations


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