Double standards for telephone boxes?

In last week’s edition it was reported that “an iconic piece of British architecture – a red telephone box” was to be unveiled in Le Locle, the town that Sidmouth has a strong twinning link with, and which showed the fact that this iconic item is valued not only here at home, but abroad as well.

In the same edition, there was an article about another red telephone box, the one in Burnt Oak, Sidbury. Firstly, Councillor Stuart Hughes exaggerated the poor state of the telephone box by describing it as being akin to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Yes, it leans slightly (but safely), is in need of a lick of reviving red paint and needs a bit of care shown to it. But whose fault is this? It’s not the fault of the residents of Burnt Oak; but of its owners, British Telecom, who haven’t kept it in good order.

Then Councillor Hughes was reported as saying that the Town Council’s support for these “iconic pieces of British architecture” appears to depend upon their location, as he reported that the telephone box at Burnt Oak should be removed and gave the clear impression that Burnt Oak was less deserving of one inthe Market Place in Sidmouth. This smacks of postcode snobbery. Le Locle, good; Market Place, good; Burnt Oak, bad!

Councillor Hughes wants to make a real difference, he could spend some of his �27,425 a year allowance, received from the ratepayers (including residents of Burnt Oak), on helping the Town Council to buy this telephone box, given that the Town Council decided not to spend the princely sum of �1 on purchasing this “iconic piece of British architecture”.

John Loudoun

6 Hillside, Burnt Oak, Sidbury

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