VILLAGERS have been left up in arms after an ‘historic’ phone box was moved without any consultation in Bramshall.
Rural parish councillor Dick Jones and Colin Whittaker, who represents the Abbey ward on East Staffordshire Borough Council, have been approached by angry residents after the phone box was moved from the top of Bennetts Lane.
The phone box had become the property of the residents who owned the land but they simply removed it one day without warning, leaving their neighbours to feel they had lost an icon of the village.
Councillor Whittaker said: “It is a subject that has angered a large number of residents.
“Personally I am extremely disappointed that with all the talk of neighbourhood working, village plans and localism, someone has chosen to remove such an iconic piece of street furniture without any consultation and a complete disregard to the feelings of residents.
“The telephone box has stood at the top of Bennetts Lane for a long time, serving the village and acting as a navigational aid before the introduction of satellite technology.
“It is a much loved symbol of Britain, the forerunner of social networking and brought communications to the masses.
“It is probable that lives have been saved by this phone, relationships have been started and of course finished.
“Even if no longer viable by the telephone companies it should be retained on its original site as a treasured asset of our village and permanent reminder of our social and domestic history.”
Councillor Jones echoed his anger and the phones importance to the village.
He said: “It is part of the icon of the village and they decided, in their wisdom, to move it without consulting with any of the villagers.
“In the past, when we took part in the Best Kept Village competition, it was all tarted up for the judges.
“The owners have said that they brought the phone box but we were never notified that it was up for sale.
“There was no consultation at all.
“This smacks in the face of big society as we were totally disregarded. It is infuriating to everybody as we have lost part of our heritage.
“If BT did not want it then they should have offered it to us.”
A BT spokesman said the phone box was now privately owned.
He said: “This particular party decided they wanted to adopt the phone box on their land and they have now decided to remove it.
“We would normally ask to remove a phone box during a public consultation process but that was not required in this case as it was now a private phone box.
“We had acknowledged the phone box was no longer used so when this is the case, people can choose to adopt it from BT which a lot of people have chosen to do across the country.
“They are often turned into a small library or gallery.”
The villagers were also dealt another blow when the post box which stood next to the phone box was removed as well, with no replacement provided.
Councillor Whittaker said: “The contractors said it was being taken away as it was on private land and the owners wished to build a wall to safeguard their children.
“A spokesperson from Royal Mail told me that ‘We don’t have to consult over this’.”
No one from the Royal Mail was available for comment at the time of going to press.