The Chelsea Society considers that in the age of the mobile phone there are far too many ugly telephone kiosks cluttering the streets of Chelsea. They are not properly maintained, and are often used as hoardings for unacceptable advertising. The Planning Committee of the Society has therefore objected to many of the recent applications for additional kiosks.
However, phones kiosks benefit from ‘permitted development’ rights, and therefore do not need planning permission. Outside conservation areas they also benefit from deemed advertisement consent. Cumulatively this increases street furniture and advertisement ‘clutter’.
Introducing an Article 4 direction, and a regulation 7 direction for parts of the borough outside conservation areas, would give the opportunity to fully assess the impact of these kiosks and adverts through the formal planning application process.
The Society was therefore pleased to see that RBKC has made Key Decision 05020/17/P/A to make application to the Secretary of State for a Regulation 7 Direction to remove deemed advertising consent for the display of advertisements on public call boxes outside conservation areas, with an implementation date of 24th April 2017.
We have heard that BT is to replace hundreds of phone boxes throughout London with ‘Links’ –These are free-standing panels, with advertising, at right angles to the street. Each Link can support hundreds of users and also offers free mobile and landline calls to UK numbers. They also offer 1Gbps Wi-Fi, mobile charging and sensors that can support smart city applications. An inbuilt Android tablet offers free local information and directions, and two 55-inch HD displays will show adverts, public service announcements, and community news. BT says the Links are smaller than existing kiosks, many of which are in need of some attention, and they are built to withstand vandalism and extreme weather. No classic red phone-boxes will be replaced.
We would have no objection to these “Links” provided that they do not install too many, and provided that they are sensitively sited, and not in conservation areas.
[last updated 4.5.17]