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The Marchmont Association opposes proposals for new phone kiosks in the area

29 March, 2018

• THE Marchmont Association objects in the strongest possible terms to the rash of proposals by various telecoms companies to replace existing unsightly, redundant, telephone kiosks in our area with equally unnecessary telephone kiosks.

We have been lobbying Camden Council and BT for several years to remove all surplus kiosks, first because they have long been rendered redundant by the universal usage of mobile phones, and secondly because they occupy valuable footway space which could and should be available to pedestrians.

These kiosks have become glorified advertising hoardings, with their main source of income being from such advertising, instead of phone calls – although BT has consistently refused to release details of telephone usage.

The kiosks have also been excessively abused by the sex industry to promote their “services”, thus exposing children and young people to offensive imagery, which the phone companies have been unwilling or unable to prevent.

Pedestrian traffic has grown exponentially in our area in recent years, caused partly by the growth in visitors / tourists staying in the area’s many hotels and two large back-packers’ hostels, and the throngs of visitors arriving at Russell Square station to visit the British Museum, and partly by a notable increase in student numbers attending the University of London, many of whom stay in student halls and flats in the locality.

The proposed replacement kiosks represent a missed opportunity to remove the existing eyesores and create much needed space.

The companies promoting these kiosks fail to recognise that the area is already extensively covered by wifi, with many heavily-used cafés offering it as a free service.

The New World kiosks have a larger footprint than the existing objects, which will lead to further obstruction of the footways. The proposed illuminated advertising screens are completely at odds with the character of the conservation area.

We fully support Camden’s planning policies which aim to protect and enhance Bloomsbury’s historical character. We call upon the council to reject all such applications and to use its powers to eradicate all existing redundant kiosks.

RICCI DE FREITAS
Marchmont Association

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