Muddy kiosks call for clean new start

PUBLISHED: 11:26 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 17:11 11 May 2010

A traditional British phone box

A traditional British phone box

ODD as it may seem only one of Post Wobegon's two telephone kiosks is a listed building. After it was pictured recently the cry went out: Why shouldn't the other one have a photograph call." How very wise. Who was to know that an identical picture of a t

ODD as it may seem only one of Post Wobegon's two telephone kiosks is a listed building. After it was pictured recently the cry went out: "Why shouldn't the other one have a photograph call." How very wise. Who was to know that an identical picture of a traditional red call box would appear in The Sunday Times where it was categorised as an icon. Apparently, some years ago BT made it known that our non-listed phone box would be removed. Despite a case being made for it to remain, every time the call box is vandalised or requires routine maintenance the possibility of its removal is mentioned again. In fact, to obtain a picture of our non-listed village icon was not as easy as it appears. Apparently, in wet weather, every time heavy farm machinery turns on or off the Mare Way the phone box receives a goodly splashing either with mud or muddy water. Barbara tells me that she got thoroughly sick of lugging a bucket of water up there every five minutes to wash it down. We now have David who, at minimal cost to the parish council, is its officially appointed phone box window cleaner. Undoubtedly, the ideal solution, or is it? Three days after washing it down for the first time he phoned to say that it was once again covered in mud. Why does the phone box need such continual attention and why should the parish council stand the expense, however minimal this may be? As I understand it, in the normal course of events the drivers of vehicles that leave mud on the road have a responsibility to remove it. Should the same rule not apply for other facilities thus affected? If we are not careful this is yet another village facility that could disappear - a point which in this case would be a sad one because it has a double duty. It's light bulb now eventually replaced by BT is a welcome source of light on the top road in a village where there are but eight street lights currently maintained and financed by South Cambridgeshire District Council. During the coming months the capped district council will be withdrawing this facility as an economy cut-back, having given parish councils the option of either assuming these responsibilities or having the lights turned off. The parish council is due to discuss the inclusion of these running costs in the next year's precept. The arrival of these lights was preceded by years of discussion, arguments for and against, and they even made national news. The possibility that they will be switched off is very remote indeed. The future is not so secure for our example of, I quote, "the quintessentially English red phone box", which The Sunday Times describes as an icon.

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