'˜Save our red telephone boxes'

A new campaign is being launched to save iconic red telephone boxes in towns and villages throughout Sussex.

Members of Sussex Heritage Trust say that the much-loved K6 public phone box - a distinctive feature of the British landscape for decades - is now increasingly under threat.

Some have been removed altogether and others are at risk of removal because of mobile phone technology, vandalism and neglect.

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Last year the trust carried out a survey into the survival and condition of red BT K6 telephone boxes in East and West Sussex.

The results showed that our telephone boxes are ‘in slow decline and at worst critically at risk - or had already been removed from their parishes.’

Now the trust has produced a guide on how people can ensure their survival by ‘adopting’ them.

CEO of Sussex Associations of Local Councils Trevor Leggo said: “I urge all communities in Sussex to preserve their K6 using imagination to bring them into use in different ways.”

Former BT red phone boxes in Storrington and Steyning are already ahead of the game and are now proving life-savers after being fitted with defibrillators.

Another in North Stoke, near Arundel, has been turned into an information point for walkers in the South Downs.

Chairman of Sussex Heritage Trust Dr John Godfrey said by producing the new guide it was hoped to “raise the profile of red K6 telephone boxes as a significant conservation issue and help more towns and villages to become actively involved in their preservation.”

Some areas including Chichester, Wealden, Brighton & Hove - and the South Downs National Park - have already had their iconic red phone kiosks ‘listed’ as being of historic importance.

The trust has since contacted parishes, towns and preservation societies in Adur, Arun, Horsham, Mid Sussex, Crawley, Worthing, Lewes, Hastings, Rother and Eastbourne in a bid to discover the state of phone boxes within each area. A total of 181 have now been identified, with 41 per cent judged to be in good condition, 35 per cent deemed fair and 24 per cent in a ‘poor state.’

To join the campaign, visit Sussex Heritage Trust’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/SussexHeritageTrust