Plans to place “ugly” phone boxes across the West End have sparked anger

Are phone boxes needed today?

Residents and councillors have been left in anger after plans of 86 “ugly” phone boxes are to be installed across the West End.

A total of 18 are set to be placed in Oxford Street, others will be found in Piccadilly, Strand, Buckingham Palace Road, Baker Street, Covent Garden and Marylebone High Street.

Westminster councillors fear the phone boxes will be “stalking horses” used mainly for advertising. There’s also the concern that many may not even use them due to the amount of people who now own mobile phones.

Applications to install the new phone boxes were lodged with the council last month by a company called Maximus Networks.

The council has only limited power to block them, or the advertising they carry. It’s asking the government for new legal powers.

Tim Carnegie, chairman of The Marylebone Association, which represents residents and workers, said: “Multiple call box applications are, on the face of it, purely an attempt to gain on-street advertising presence.”

“Residents have enough problems with call boxes as they are, as they are linked to anti-social behaviour and not used for what they were designed for.”

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