Iconic telephone box in Uppermill saved to ring another day

A FAST-MOVING initiative has ensured an iconic red telephone box will remain outside a recently-reopened £1 million museum.

BT had planned to remove the phone kiosk from a site in Saddleworth Museum car park off Uppermill’s High Street.

Cllr Nikki Kirkham, Pam Bailey and Nick Watts by the telephone box

A notice in the box said the kiosk would be taken away after 42 days consultation period because “information showed it has had very little use over a significant period of time.”

Objectors were advised to contact the local authority’s planning department.

But Nick Watts, chair of Uppermill Community Association (UCA) contacted local councillors to see what could be done to save the box.

Cllr Kirkham, Oldham and Saddleworth Parish Councillor who helped save similar kiosks in Dobcross working with their  village community association, explained: “I said, although it wasn’t my ward, it would be a pleasure to help.

“I contacted Pam Bailey, the Parish Council clerk, and set about adopting the kiosk from BT to gift it to the community association.”

She added: “As the kiosk currently sits in council land permission has been sought and granted from Oldham Council for the Parish Council to adopt it.”

Nick Watts said: “Many villagers expressed concerns when BT planned to remove this small, but iconic piece of Uppermilll’s heritage.

“The initial response did not look promising. Cllr Kirkham and Pam Bailey have been amazing in helping to assure this kiosk remains part of Uppermill for years to come.

p4-museum-phone-box“Hopefully, we can now raise the funds for a public access defibrillator and re-purpose this kiosk to help save lives.”

Cllr John McCann added: “It seems BT are continuing their money first, local effects a very poor second policy with the proposal to remove the telephone boxes in Uppermill.

“One can understand the drive for efficiency and proposal to abandon the modern boxes if they are not used but it seems almost perverse the fine red old style box should be removed just as the museum has been transformed.

“Uppermill is a fine example of a Pennine village which has been granted conservation status to help preserve the atmosphere and nature of its past.

“This is usually under threat from new additions or ill-judged modernisation but sometimes it is removal rather than introduction that does damage.”

Museum curator Peter Fox welcomed the news of the kiosk being saved.

He said: “These are 1920s designs and they have become an iconic British design. They add to the character of the area and must be saved.”


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