Town to invest £1 to buy iconic antique

PUBLISHED: 08:59 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 22:24 15 June 2010

THERE are only two traditional, red telephone boxes left in Honiton and BT wants to scrap one of them.

THERE are only two traditional, red telephone boxes left in Honiton and BT wants to scrap one of them.Honiton Town Council could purchase the threatened kiosk, in Joslin Road - but only if the box can be moved.BT has offered to sell the kiosk to the council for £1, so it can be retained as an icon with no telephone.At a meeting of the council's policy committee on Monday, Councillor Vernon Whitlock said: "I live opposite this phone box and, in five years, I don't think I've ever seen anybody in it."Councillor Roy Coombs was concerned the nearest alternative payphones are in Whitebridges and Exeter Road, and called for the council to make representations to save the facility on "social grounds". He accepted the existing service is probably making a loss.Newly elected councillor Peter Corke said he felt strongly that BT should be providing an emergency telephone service - in case of a "fire or murder". "Not everybody has mobile phones," he said.Councillor Sharon Holloway said the box had merit as an icon and that it may have another use. In other areas redundant boxes had been used for innovative projects.Councillor Coombs said the box could be moved and retained as an outside exhibit at Allhallows Museum - possibly on the spot of a former kiosk."I think it's a daft idea," said Councillor Richard Gaughan. "We'd end up with another target for graffiti artists. Let the thing go."Councillor Ron Farnham said the box could be an attraction for Honiton and Councillor Peter Fleming said £1 was a small price to pay for something that could be sold on at a considerable profit.The council is to contact BT - to see if the kiosk could be moved after purchase.

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