It is time to ring the changes. Seven of Preston’s traditional red phone boxes are on the market being offered for sale or to let.
For £15,000 per box or £175 a month the iconic boxes on Market Street, complete with planning permission for retail use, could be yours.
In preparation for new tenants or owners and in response to an appeal from the local business community, two were being given a spruce-up last week.
The revamp package included repainting and repairing broken window panes.
Brighton based owners The Red Kiosk Company called in local company The A-TEAM to provide some tender loving care for the boxes which form part of the nation’s communications heritage.
A-TEAM owner Steve Pratt said: “ We got so many comments from people as they passed. It was nice to hear.”
He said the public were delighted to see them being done up, especially those who remembered them being in use years ago.
He acknowledged the paint and repair job was one of the Croston based firm’s more unusual commissions.
In the past they have worked on churches, built a dog kennel for a customer and done numerous decorating and refurb jobs. Mr Pratt said:”They want a lot more doing in Liverpool and Manchester as well on an ongoing basis.”
Red Kiosk Company Director Mr Edward Ottewell said: “We’ve got a programme now for refurbishing. We own 125 across the country and seven in Preston. It’s possibly the longest row (of kiosks) in the country - we have seven and BT own two.”
The Red Kiosk Company owns booths in locations ranging from London to Edinburgh, Liverpool and Southport to Bournemouth . Some of those former phone boxes have been given a new lease of life with roles ranging from ice cream kiosks and coffee shops to flower shops and ticket sales centres. They have also become venues for phone repairs, advertising and even hat and sunglasses sales.
Company director Edward Ottewell said: “In Brighton and London the florists have been a real success. They’ve made the sites look fantastic. They have so many tourists and local people taking pictures.”
• What businesses/services would you like to see the Preston’s boxes used for? Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org