Fancy adopting a Norfolk phone box for just £1? Here’s where they’re for sale

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:00 04 May 2019

Would you adopt your local telephone box for just £1? Picture: Archant

Would you adopt your local telephone box for just £1? Picture: Archant


Phone boxes across Norfolk are up for adoption by their communities for just £1.

Jo Billham, Keith Morris and Andrew Moore with the Swap Box in Wreningham. Picture: Courtesy of Keith MorrisJo Billham, Keith Morris and Andrew Moore with the Swap Box in Wreningham. Picture: Courtesy of Keith Morris

BT is putting its traditional red boxes up for adoption having seen use of the public phones fall 90% over the past decade with the boom in mobile technology.

Hundreds of phone boxes have already been adopted in the UK for uses such as mini libraries, information points or to keep defibrillators.

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And across Norfolk more than 100 red boxes need a new lease of life.

Southwold Mayor Simon Tobin with the red telephone box that became a defibrillator.Southwold Mayor Simon Tobin with the red telephone box that became a defibrillator.

The district with the most £1 boxes are in north Norfolk where 34 are up for grabs. Following north Norfolk is King's Lynn and West Norfolk where 22 telephone boxes need new uses.

South Norfolk has 14 which need new owners and Breckland and Boradland districts have 12 and 10 respectively.

Great Yarmouth and Norwich have relatively few with two and four a piece.

There are also 82 up for grabs in Suffolk, the majority being in the Suffolk Coastal and Waveney areas.

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The adopted kiosks will still have electricity, provided for free by BT.

Commenting on the launch, Katherine Bradley, BT's senior payphones commercial and operations manager, said: “We're pleased to be giving even more local communities the chance to adopt a phone box. With more than 800 payphones already adopted across the East Midlands, this is a fantastic opportunity for communities to own a piece of history.”

Elsewhere some phone boxes have been used as cake shops, mini museums and even tiny nightclubs.

Ms Bradley continued: “The opportunities are endless and we've already seen some amazing transformations. Applying is easy and quick and we're always happy to speak to communities about adopting our traditional BT red payphone boxes.”

Communities can adopt a kiosk if they are a recognised public body, such as a parish council, community council town council or parish meeting.

Boxes can also be adopted by registered charities or by individuals who have a payphone on their own land.

As part of the project, BT is also replacing more than 1,000 payphones in major cities across the UK, with new digital hubs called InLinks as part of a joint venture with InLinkUK.

Each InLink provides ultrafast, free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging and a tablet for access to city services, maps and directions.

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• Case study: The swap box

A disused red phone box was transformed in Wrenhingham last year into a swap box for sharing books and DVDs.

The phone box near the school in Ashwellthorpe Road was renovated and repainted, with new glass and signs as well as a mosaic floor.

It was bought from BT in 2017 by Wreningham Parish Council and villagers were asked what they wanted it turned into.

A free library was the most popular answer and councillor Keith Morris gathered together a group of villagers to put the plan into action.

The swap box officially opened on September 7, 2018.

Residents are welcome to take books and DVDs for free and leave others in their place.

• Case study: A life-saving station

Another use for a former phone box is to turn it into a home for a life-saving piece of equipment, such as the one in Southwold.

The box houses a defibrillator that can provide emergency first aid to someone who has suffered a heart attack.

The traditional red box, which replaced a disused aluminium telephone kiosk on the corner of High Street and Victoria Street, cost £4,000 to purchase and set up.

The funding for the project came from the town council and local residents, businesses and organisations, and the defibrillator, worth a further £1,000, was donated by the East of England Cooperative Society.

At the time of opening, residents were also shown how to use the equipment thanks to a demonstration given by the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS).

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