BT puts phone boxes up for ‘adoption’ in Sidmouth and Tipton St John

Andy Webb had hoped to turn the phone box at Burnt Oak in Sidbury into a book borrowing hub. He has

Andy Webb had hoped to turn the phone box at Burnt Oak in Sidbury into a book borrowing hub. He has now set his sights on one in Court Hall Gardens. - Credit: Archant

More iconic pieces of street furniture, set to be removed, could instead be adopted as assets for people to enjoy.

Tipton St John's phone box on the village green

Tipton St John's phone box on the village green - Credit: Archant

In Sidmouth, BT is consulting on the future of a traditional red ‘heritage’ phone box in Temple Street, as well as two, more modern models in Higher Brook Meadow and Byes Lane.

Sidbury resident Andy Webb has laid claim to the red box in Court Hall Gardens – after BT removed the Burnt Oak booth he had hoped to adopt before the paperwork went through.

He had hoped to follow in the footsteps of Fortescue Road residents to transform it into a community book exchange.

Tipton St John’s community is seizing a chance to save its iconic red phone box by ‘adopting’ it for the village.

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BT is undertaking a mass removal of little-used public payphones across the country – five from the Ottery St Mary parish - and offering local councils the option of taking on responsibility for the miniature premises.

An appeal has now been issued for Tipton residents to submit ideas for what they would like to see the decommissioned phone box used for.

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Speaking at an Ottery Town Council meeting last Monday, Councillor Lyn Harding – who is also chairman of Tipton Residents’ Association - confirmed the village would definitely like to take on its red box. She said: “All the telephonic equipment will be removed and then it’s up to you what you want to do with it. Some have become a library and some are green houses, some use it as a mini museum about the area. There are a lot of things you can do with it.”

Cllr Harding told the Herald that the phone box on the village green is an important part of Tipton’s streetscene and she launched an appeal for people to put forward ideas as to how it could be transformed for community use. BT’s consultation ends on November 28.

Anyone interested in adopting a phone box in the Sid Valley can contact Sidmouth Town Council on 01395 512424.

To submit suggestions for the Tipton St John box, contact Cllr Harding on 01404 814052 or email

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