|THE DAME AT LEISURE|
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I reported to the Kensington Society Executive Committee last night about the progress on this matter.
A suggestion for you:
To install the telephones BT still need to go through the prior approval procedure. This is usually a formality, but in this case they are not proposing a conventional kiosk, but a large advertising panel – something never anticipated by either the Telecommunications Act or the prior approval procedure.
The procedure, just like that for the broadband cabinets, requires agreement to the siting and the impact on amenity. Although it sounds like a rerun of the advertisement consent cases, it would be an opportunity to take into consideration the Council’s streetscape policy. You could indicate your agreement to install a telephone, but not the advertisement panel on the back of it. We need to decouple the request to install a telephone from the “real” proposal to install an advertisement panel which is not what the prior approval process was designed to deal with.
Mr Siddiqi’s response indicated that the normal practice for the Highways Act licence is to go along with the prior approval decision so as not to frustrate the Telecommunications Act rights to install telephones. This is not a normal case. The issue of the Highways Act licence in this case should not be regarded as a formality. The Council must face up to the fact that it is being asked formally to licence a large obstruction in the highway which is contrary to its policy for removing the clutter in our streetscape.
Finally, there is the irony that the main complaints about telephone kiosks will not be addressed by this “deal”. Flyposting is primarily if not exclusively a problem for boxes owed by other companies, not BT. Prostitute cards are a problem in some areas, but almost all of those where this is a problem would be unaffected by the “deal” as these are not due for removal. The “deal” is not a solution to anybody’s problems – it just creates a new, unwanted problem that will be with us for the next 20 years.
What we need is clear idea of where we want to get to and to find a way of getting there. We need to get a solution.