Crime Reduction

30.01.18

Companies using phone boxes to ‘smuggle’ advertising onto high streets, LGA warns

The government should clamp down on companies installing telephone boxes on England’s high streets without permission in order to cheaply advertise to consumers, the LGA has said.

Current regulations allow companies to install telephone boxes without planning permission, but councils claim that they are increasingly becoming an “eyesore” to residents.

Current laws allow companies to easily install the boxes which often are “little more than advertising billboards,” according to the association. 

Under existing legislation, companies only need a licence from Ofcom to install a telephone kiosk, but the LGA says that the law is outdated, having been introduced in a “pre-digital era,” before mobile phones became widely used.

Councils can object to the placement of phone boxes based on design and appearance, but where the applicant appeals, the final decision is made by the Planning Inspectorate.

The LGA is calling for the government to scrap this law, claiming it would give councils greater control over the “excessive numbers” of telephone boxes appearing on high streets.

Research by the LGA found a 927% rise in applications for telephone boxes across 12 councils between 2015 and 2017.

As well as advertising, the LGA has warned that telephone kiosks encourage anti-social behaviour, such as fly posting and graffiti, and that when the phones are out of use, councils are “powerless” to remove them.

Cllr Martin Tett, planning spokesman at the LGA, said that the digital age has led to the telephone box becoming “a largely obsolete relic of a bygone era.”

Whilst he accepted that there remains a need for some telephone boxes for emergencies, he added: “Companies are exploiting a loophole in the law to allow what is tantamount to Trojan telephone boxes being used as advertising spaces rather than the original purpose of providing a place for people to use a phone.

“As a result, pedestrians are being bombarded with a series of eyesores that blight the public highway.”

He concluded: “Councils are currently powerless to act, so we want the government to overturn the existing out-of-date legislation and give local authorities the ability to take action where this is an issue.”

Top image: JohnFScott

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Robert   06/02/2018 at 15:10

This is ironic because when you Google search phone boxes in the UK you get hundreds of stories where members of the public are complaining about phone boxes being removed? Isn't it really a case of the local authorities not being able to make any money out of the advertising on these phone boxes that has them upset?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Bill for cash-strapped council’s usage of ring-fenced money could be up to £16m

21/05/2018Bill for cash-strapped council’s usage of ring-fenced money could be up to £16m

 A new investigation into the usage of public funds by Northamptonshire County Council could levy the authority with a £16m grant bill... more >
Local authority’s enhanced powers ‘ripe for misuse’ for convicting hundreds of homeless, new figures show

21/05/2018Local authority’s enhanced powers ‘ripe for misuse’ for convicting hundreds of homeless, new figures show

People sleeping rough on Britain’s streets have been fined, given criminal records, or even imprisoned due to enhanced council powers to re... more >
Council calls on Whitehall to fix ‘broken’ funding system, rejects claims of bankruptcy

21/05/2018Council calls on Whitehall to fix ‘broken’ funding system, rejects claims of bankruptcy

A Conservative-controlled council has called on the government to sort out its “broken” funding system, and claimed it was not going ... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough,... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open — and this needs to happen as soon as possible. The fire at Grenfell Tower has been an unimaginable tragedy and it continues to be a hu... more > more last word articles >
Bill for cash-strapped council’s usage of ring-fenced money could be up to £16m

21/05/2018Bill for cash-strapped council’s usage of ring-fenced money could be up to £16m

 A new investigation into the usage of public funds by Northamptonshire County Council could levy the authority with a £16m grant bill after its apparent usage of ring-fenced cash on o... more >
Local authority’s enhanced powers ‘ripe for misuse’ for convicting hundreds of homeless, new figures show

21/05/2018Local authority’s enhanced powers ‘ripe for misuse’ for convicting hundreds of homeless, new figures show

People sleeping rough on Britain’s streets have been fined, given criminal records, or even imprisoned due to enhanced council powers to reduce homelessness. New figures obtained in a ... more >

the raven's daily blog

The complexities of Brexit and the hunt for exceptional data scientists

16/04/2018The complexities of Brexit and the hunt for exceptional data scientists

Christopher Gallagher, public sector – SAS, says it’s imperative that organisations have the most experienced data scientists at hand. The Civil Service is feeling immense Brexit stress. Making the right decisions, analysing the ‘best interests’ of the nation as a whole, as well as discrete segments of the populati... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

The digital journey so far

08/05/2018The digital journey so far

Michael Sage, digital services group manager at Chelmsford City Council, outlines the authority’s journey towards becoming digitally indepe... more >
Equipping the cyber security gatekeepers

08/05/2018Equipping the cyber security gatekeepers

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) just around the corner, cyber security is on the lips of the whole public sector – but P... more >
The hydrogen revolution

08/05/2018The hydrogen revolution

PSE’s Josh Mines takes a look at an innovative scheme in Sheffield that will see some of the first hydrogen-fuelled vans begin work in the ... more >
Energy efficiency: not just a matter of more money

30/04/2018Energy efficiency: not just a matter of more money

David Reilly, head of cities & regions at the Carbon Trust, reports on the findings from this year’s Low Carbon Cities Conference. ... more >

interviews

GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

03/04/2018GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

SPONSORED INTERVIEW PSE’s Josh Mines chats to Martin de Martini, CIO of Y Soft, about what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)... more >
Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >
Keeping London safe

05/03/2018Keeping London safe

Theo Blackwell, London’s first-ever chief digital officer (CDO), speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the role he plays in ensuring the... more >
BIM: Digitising the public sector

19/02/2018BIM: Digitising the public sector

PSE’s Josh Mines talks to Stephen Crompton, CTO at GroupBC, and Stuart Bell, the company’s sales and marketing director, about how Bu... more >

public sector focus

View all News