A hard-fought, year-long campaign to see the return of a traditional red phone box has now been won.
Villagers at Holton le Moor were left devastated after the box was removed by BT last December, and contacted the Rasen Mail to highlight the issue.
The box was sited on Market Rasen Road, not far from the Moot Hall, and was something villagers were keen to retain, both for its practical use and its architectural character within a conservation area.
Just weeks before its removal, BT had supplied paint so keen volunteers could refurbish the box.
However, West Lindsey District Council has now secured the phone box from BT and plans are in place to return the box to its original site, once planning permission has been granted.
Campaigner Bob Tubman said: “After the Rasen Mail publicity last year, there was a groundswell of support from residents, the local parish meeting and councillors.
“MP Sir Edward Leigh even got in touch with BT CEO Gavin Patterson.
“We are delighted with the result, and hope the planning permission from LCC highways will be forthcoming shortly.”
A site meeting took place earlier this month with the contractor to check exactly where the box needs to be placed.
Also present was WLDC Enterprising Communities manager Grant White, who Mr Tubman has praised for his work with villagers.
Mr Tubman said: “Grant has really impressed us with his energy and commitment.
“We are very grateful for everything he has done.”
Although the box will be returning, it will not be used as a public phone box.
Instead, the villagers intend to use it as a mini community hub, which will include a book exchange.
Grant White said: “In late 2017 we become aware that the red heritage-style phone box in Holton le Moor was removed following a series of errors.
“Residents from the village had taken great pride in maintaining the phone box and it came as a shock when it was removed.
“As part of our Conservation Area Appraisal for Holton le Moor it was recommended to retain the red phone box.
“Working with the local parish, we have been able to source a refurbished red heritage style phone box which will soon be installed.
“This is a great outcome for the local community and demonstrates our commitment to protect and maintain conservation areas in our district.”
The village’s District Councillor, Tom Regis expressed his pleasure at the outcome of the campaign.
He said: “Conservation is very important to communities in my ward area, especially with our close links to the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“I am pleased to see the upcoming return of the red phone box in Holton le Moor, and wish to thank the local community and our officers for their determination in getting it restored.”
While villagers are delighted to see the return of the phone box, there is another issue still outstanding.
When the box was removed, there were fears the lack of a public phone box could endanger lives as the phone is in a mobile ‘not spot’.
Therefore, as they look to draw a line under this campaign, like many other rural locations, they are persisting with requests to improve the mobile reception and for a faster broadband service.
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