'We're shocked': Bosses' dismay as phone box for sale for £35,000
- Credit: Denise Bradley
The owners of Norwich's tiniest shop based in a historic phone kiosk are shocked after the premises went up for sale for an eye-watering sum.
Simon Ward only opened Simply Cactus in the phone box in Tombland a month ago to find the owner is now selling it at auction.
And he's been left stunned by its guide price of £35,000 - more money than a two bedroom holiday home currently for sale in Hemsby.
Mr Ward, 53, who opened the cactus shop with friends Timo Malagori, 43, and Dani Tagliaferra, 36, said: "I'm shocked, I only found out when someone came along to take photos of the phone box saying it was up for sale.
"I leased it for six months but after that, it looks like the cactus shop will be homeless. It's attracted a lot of attention since I opened although the weather hasn't been good for cacti.
"It's been a lot of fun but I don't know what I'm going to do."
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Mr Ward pays £3,000 a year to rent the phone box, which is a special listed 'K6 jubilee' one, originally built to commemorate the silver jubilee of the coronation of King George V.
Standing 8ft3 high and measuring just three feet square, it was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who created London's Battersea power station and the former Bankside power station, now the Tate Modern.
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BT sold off its red kiosks, practically giving them away for £1 for communities if they were to be converted for use as things like defibrillators. Others are for sale from around £2,750 but a licence is needed for business use, which the Tombland one has got.
This phone kiosk also has electricity and is for sale at livestream auction with no extra service charges or ground rent to pay.
Mat Harris, of Bidx1, selling the kiosk on behalf of Brighton-based owners RKC Estates, said: "Own an iconic piece of British heritage located in busy pitch in Norwich with the added benefit of already having planning permission for retail use.
"You own the kiosk and can resell at any point, but it is a heritage site, so you cannot remove them or alter the exterior. The kiosk is registered as a listed building at Historic England."
There is another red phone box right next to Simply Cactus but Mr Harris confirmed only the cactus one was for sale.
Bids are currently being taken and it could be sold as early as 'tomorrow' if the right price is reached.
"They do fetch high values both because of planning permission which this one has and also because of the potential use. The new owner may negotiate a new rent for a new tenant."