Ridiculous or Historic?

A Ramsey politician has labelled a decision to consider a phone box for status as a registered building as ‘the single most ridiculous thing in my five years as a commissioner’.

Juan McGuinness shared a picture of the phone box, in the town’s Memorial Garden’s on Parliament Street, which the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture believes could be of ‘special architectural or historic interest’. 

Juan McGuinness has labelled the idea of preserving a phone box as ‘ridiculous’

The department has issued the preservation notice, which prevents the phone box being altered until a final decision is made later this year as to whether or not it meets the criteria to go onto the list.

Mr McGuiness said: ‘Ramsey Town Commissioners were going to turn an unused and decrepit phone box into a place to house a defibrillator. Now with this ridiculous Building Preservation Notice it’s going to become far more effort and expense to maintain than is worthwhile.’

Residents of Ramsey commented on the post to support the commissioner in labelling the potential registering of the phone box as ridiculous and suggested alternative uses for it such as storing a defibrillator or being used as a book swap.

Onchan MHK Rob Callister said Mr McGuiness had used the ‘same words I said in the DEFA department meeting’. He added: ‘If a phone box can be reused, then simply work with Manx Telecom and the Local Authority to make it happen – you don’t need to register the phone box.’

One of 12

A spokeswoman for DEFA told Gef that the phone box in question is known as a K8 and is ‘one of only about 55 boxes of that design in the UK and Isle of Man, with around 12 listed with Historic England’. 

She added: ‘The island has three of such phone boxes and has put a Building Preservation Notice upon two of them while they consider further their inclusion into the Register of Protected Buildings. Using de-commissioned telephone boxes for defibrillators or similar purposes is unlikely to require Registered Building Consent even if the structure is registered as such a use would not affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. Indeed the Department supports the principle of the use of phone boxes for such purposes and has proposed to register a K6 type Kiosk already in that use. 

‘Advice in respect of what does and does not need Registered Building Consent in relation to specific matters is available for free from officers in DEFA’s Planning and Building Control Directorate.’

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