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Phone Box Furore

2nd of December 1997

A letter from June Evans, Copthall, The Street
I am writing in support of our beautiful old red telephone box on the village green. It seems to me to be situated in exactly the right spot – convenient for visitors to Chipperfield to use. I realise, of course, that not all village residents own a telephone, but I suspect the vast majority do.
The previous and very ugly modern-style box, situated near the old Post Office, was scruffy, out of style with the village and seemed mainly to be used by rowdy and noisy teenagers in the evenings. Our traditional red telephone box now blends into the charm of Chipperfield village. Mr. Williams, a resident of Kings Langley, suggests moving the box (at whose expense?) to be near the bus stop by The Two Brewers – where the pavement is far too narrow and would, I believe, look out of place and be a dangerous obstruction.
Please do let us keep the telephone box where it is. It adds greatly to the special atmosphere or our lovely village.

The facts from David Nobbs
Although the formal responsibility for the siting of the new telephone box rested with Dacorum Borough Council (which both owns the Common and is the relevant planning authority) and British Telecom, there was a good degree of consultation with the Parish Council.
The Parish Councils first concern was replacement when the box outside the old Post Office was removed. British Telecom advised us that a replacement could not be justified on economic grounds. However, they did acknowledge that it was strategically important in view of its position in the village centre, close to the Common which attracts many visitors. A special case was successfully submitted by their Field Officer for a phone box to be retained and for it to be of traditional design.
The location of the box was governed by British Telecom requirements for length of cabling to suitable wiring points and by its visibility in cases of emergency. The Parish Councils preferred choices – alongside the post box outside The Two Brewers or in the car park by Old School Cottages – were thus not available. We therefore agreed on the present site, being convenient for use and in a position where public gaze might deter vandalism. The new phone box obviously does stand out as a new feature on a well-loved scene, but as time goes by, it is likely to be accepted as part of that scene, just as in many other villages.

 
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