'Tired' 1990s phoneboxes could be replaced with modern models - and trees

“Tired and outmoded” 1990s phone boxes in a Yorkshire city could soon be replaced with more modern models – and trees.

New World Payphones (NWP) has submitted numerous applications to Bradford Council to remove phone booths in locations across the city, as well as a number of linked, free standing ATM machines.

In their place will be new, state of the art public phones. And the company has pledged to plant a tree for every kiosk they upgrade.

The company says the move will “better meet the needs of society” and that the existing booths have had “historic problems” with anti-social behaviour.

One of the phoneboxes in Bradford

Applications relate to phone boots at Westgate, Leeds Road, at 199 Barkerend Road, outside Barkerend Health Centre, at the corner of Welham Walk and Otley Road, and Great Horton Road.

They are accompanied by applications for digital advertisements on the new style units.

Applications for some of the replacements have previously been granted – but permission lapsed before the work was done.

The applications say: “This is part of a strategy for the rationalisation and upgrade of the estate in Bradford. This aims to reduce the number of kiosks and ATMs and install new telecommunications infrastructure which better meets the needs of society.

“Combined, the upgrades would result in the removal of four ATMs and five of the existing kiosks. The current kiosks (some twinned with an automated teller machine), which date back to the 1990s, are tired-looking structures and outmoded in terms of their telephony equipment.

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“In addition, the current enclosed kiosk type has experienced historic problems including anti-social behaviour and lack of access for people with mobility impairments. These factors notwithstanding, the kiosks are in use, with most calls made to mobile and 0800 numbers, including the emergency services.

“With the advent of the mobile phone, however, the use of public telephone boxes has declined and the strategy of rationalising the existing network is a priority for NWP, along with the opportunity of improving and decluttering the public realm in Bradford.

“NWP has partnered with ‘Trees for Cities’, which is a global charitable organisation working to create greener cities internationally. As part of this commitment, NWP offers to plant a tree in a location to be agreed with the Council for every kiosk proposed for upgrade.”

The application says the new kiosks, some of which can already be seen in Bradford, are “purposefully open, allowing unfettered access for all users including the accessibility impaired whilst also helping to eradicate anti-social behaviour”.

Some of the kiosks fall in Conservation Areas of the City. In response to the plan for the Great Horton Road kiosk replacement, a Heritage Conservation Officer at Bradford Council has said: “I consider this to be more aesthetically pleasing in the streetscape than the current arrangement.”

A decision on the various applications is expected later this month.