Tardis sparks fury

Written by  Saturday, 25 February 2017 10:05
High Barnet’s super-size smart telephone kiosk – an eyesore say its critics High Barnet’s super-size smart telephone kiosk – an eyesore say its critics
Plans to improve one of the busiest stretches of Barnet High Street by planting trees, and providing benches and cycle hoops, have been upstaged by the arrival of a super-size black kiosk for a new smart telephone.

It has been installed at precisely the point where pavement was due to be widened.

The sudden appearance of what resembles an updated version of the Tardis from Dr Who has produced a chorus of criticism from members of the Barnet Town Team, the Barnet Society and the Barnet Residents Association.

“It’s an eyesore...slap bang in the middle of the High Street, cluttering up the pavement,” says Gail Laser of Love Barnet.

The new kiosk – sited in the pavement just in front of Carluccio’s – is so wide that two people can scarcely pass each other in the space that remains.

It’s an eyesore...slap bang in the middle of the High Street, cluttering up the pavement

Mrs Laser and others complained to Barnet Council about the lack of consultation, but they have been told British Telecom was within its right to replace the previous standard red telephone box with a new smart telephone kiosk.

“These works were permitted,” says Martin Earl, Barnet’s Highways Officer. “No planning permission was required as there was previously a phone box in place. The smart phone kiosk is a replacement and upgrade of the existing kiosk.”

The council’s response has done little to appease the many supporters of the plan to make the High Street more friendly for shoppers and pedestrians by widening the pavement between the Post Office and just beyond the entrance to the Spires shopping centre.

Traffic engineers say that building out the pavement and reducing the number of cars pulling in and out of parking spaces usually speeds the flow of traffic.

Residents say the loading bay will be a traffic hazardResidents say the loading bay will be a traffic hazardAlthough seven parking spaces would be lost, the wider pavement would allow for the planting of up to 18 trees, along with the installation of benches, bins and cycle hoops.

The High Street pavement build-out plan has hit further turbulence following criticism from the newly-established Union Street Residents Association.

Its chair Keith West fears that the new High Street layout will cause further congestion in Union Street which will be the site of a new loading bay, replacing the existing space for shop deliveries.


He says that the pavement build-out will disrupt traffic turning into Union Street from High Street and the new loading bay will cause a traffic hazard.

“Heavy lorries parked in the narrowest point of Union Street force passing traffic to mount the pavement...Please rethink and consult residents directly affected,” says Mr West.

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8 comments

  • Comment Link Saturday, 25 February 2017 14:05 posted by Louise Rolfe

    Saw this eyesore yesterday! Couldn't believe my eyes! The only thing I've seen people go into telephone boxes for recently is to urinate. This will be the same! Especially as u can't see in!

  • Comment Link Saturday, 25 February 2017 14:49 posted by Elizabeth May Jones

    Disappointed!

  • Comment Link Sunday, 26 February 2017 21:24 posted by gremlin, barnet

    I had a chance to look at this today.
    the south facing side is a large panel for adverts. - nothing unusual about that.
    however, its a video panel, (I guess colour but it was only showing b/w today)
    adverts by their definition are distracting, moving ones more-so, and the approach to a busy pedestrian crossing is really one of the worst places for this distraction.
    in my view it is dangerous, I hope not lethal...
    ps, its not BT, but 'new world payphones'

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 01 March 2017 00:10 posted by David Cook

    Don't blame BT it's not theirs but down to New World Payphnes

  • Comment Link Thursday, 16 March 2017 12:29 posted by Stephen K

    If the back panel shows adverts, doesn't this count as visual advertising? Don't Councils have powers to prevent/control/regulate visual advertisements? If so, why doesn't Barnet Council intervene?

  • Comment Link Monday, 27 March 2017 15:47 posted by rob

    did it really "spark fury" or did a few people take a second look at what you yourselves said was simply a replacement phonebox:

    "to replace the previous standard red telephone box with a new smart telephone kiosk."

    come on, it's a replacement phone box why the 'sparks fury' headline...

  • Comment Link Saturday, 01 April 2017 00:22 posted by David

    "the pavement build-out will disrupt traffic turning into Union Street from High Street"

    The turn commonly taken at speed where people are driven at and expected to jump out of the way?

  • Comment Link Monday, 03 April 2017 11:18 posted by Andy

    No planning permission required?

    I guess we are lucky they didn't try and build an apartment block on the pavement (making sure they still had a public phone on the side)

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