Listed telephone box use for tourist photography would "demean" its heritage value

The use of a listed telephone kiosk in central London as a photography kiosk was refused for harm to the heritage significance of the box itself and other nearby assets and harm to pedestrian safety within the highway.

The inspector was particularly concerned that the nature and scope of the proposed photography use was difficult to ascertain and therefore to control through the use classes order or by way of condition, despite no significant changes proposed to the structure of the telephone kiosk itself. But the box was one of a group of eight spaced regularly outside the grade II* listed Treasury Building overlooking Parliament Square and formed part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. It seemed to the inspector that to formalise and commercialise the proposed use of the iconic box for photographing tourists, including the use of additional props in the form of hats and other unknown paraphernalia, would demean the dignity of the location, harming the heritage value of the box itself and the setting of the Treasury Building and other boxes. He felt the public benefits which included the preservation of the box in a tidy state and limited economic benefits were insufficient to warrant the harm he had identified.

In terms of highway safety, the inspector also held there was a realistic risk that, from time to time, the use by the photographer and waiting tourists, would result in pedestrians being impeded, which would be harmful to highway safety.

Inspector: Nicholas Taylor; Written representations

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