A ROW has broken out over plans to replace a traditional red phone box with a modern cash machine kiosk.
BT has submitted a planning application to Oxford City Council to remove the iconic red box in Oxford’s High Street outside All Souls College and replace it with a replica housing an ATM.
But the move has upset local heritage group Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society.
Liz Woolley, secretary of the society’s listed buildings sub-committee, said: “The present telephone box is one of the few remaining K6 boxes, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.
“There are only four designated examples in Oxford (all listed at Grade II) and we believe that this one should be given the same protection.”
She added: “The materials and design of the proposed new structure are garish and inappropriate in this sensitive location.”
Sub-committee chairman David Clark added: “It is one of those traditional red phone boxes and it is part of a very important view down High Street.”
The K6 phone box – the sixth version of the design – was created in 1935 to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V. First designed in 1924, the telephone box was painted red at the insistence of the Post Office — Scott had preferred silver.
It was the first red telephone kiosk to be extensively used outside London.
Since then, the red phone box has gone on to become one of the iconic symbols of Britain along with double decker buses and black cabs.
In its application BT said the replica would fit in with the historic street scene. It told the council: “It will not look out of place.”
Company spokesman Chris Orum said: “Combined payphone and ATM units are proving increasingly popular around the UK.
“We are also mindful that there are four other red phone boxes within 400 metres of the one we’re planning to convert.”
In July, BT was forced to apologise after putting the wrong coloured cash machine and payphone in Cornmarket Street.
The company had to replace the gold and red coloured kiosk with a silver one to comply with planning permission.
A decision on the High Street cash machine will be made by city council officers, unless councillors decide the matter should be debated by planning committee members.