Thursday, 03 October 2019 11:48

Pay phones on the march in Barnet High Street

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Approval has already been obtained to replace the phone box in front of KFC in Barnet High Street with a new phone kiosk featuring an illuminated display screen for advertisements Approval has already been obtained to replace the phone box in front of KFC in Barnet High Street with a new phone kiosk featuring an illuminated display screen for advertisements
Another three telephone boxes with illuminated advertisements are being proposed for Barnet High Street – much to the anger of residents who fear they will add to street clutter just when the pavements are being widened to make it easier for shoppers.

A super-size black kiosk containing a smart phone – with a digital advertising display at the rear – was installed in front of Carluccio’s two years ago.

InLinkUK, which is working in partnership with British Telecom, has already obtained approval for a second pay phone communication hub and illuminated display sign in front of the KFC outlet at 135 High Street.

Applications have now been submitted by Infocus Public Networks for planning approval for two more pay phone kiosks with display screens – one to be sited in front of Hamilton Chase at 141 High Street and another in front of High Barnet Dental Care at 59 High Street, close to the junction with Church Passage footpath.

If the two additional kiosks are approved, there would four such phone boxes, with 86 inches high display screens in a short stretch of the High Street, from Church Passage to the junction with St Albans Road.

A pedestrian bollard would have to be moved to make way for the new kiosk close to Church Passage.

A pavement bench would have to be re-sited to provide space for the new pay phone close to the St Albans Road junction.

Many of the objections registered with Barnet Council’s planning department make the point that the only reason for installers seeking to provide these new pay phone kiosks is because is because of the income that can be derived from internally illuminated display screens for advertisements.

Objectors say these installations would damage the High Street, add to street clutter and leave less room for new benches, trees and hoops for cycles.

But in return for the approval of these new “communication hubs”, the installers say the community would benefit from free Wi-Fi in the vicinity and the provision of a defibrillator, although as the objectors point out there are already defibrillators at the entrance to the Spires and in other High Street premises.

Another argument against more kiosks is that most shoppers and passers-by have mobiles phones and there is a danger they can be used by drug dealers who stand nearby ready to take calls.

In response to these fears, InLinkUK and British Telecom say they have introduced new automatic call blocking features designed to prevent misuse of the free calls service provided to the public.

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