The new payphone which has been installed outside Tesco on Wanstead High Street has some merit to it – it’s not garish, it’s quite classic in its design in a way. The King might even approve of it.
It will be interesting to see if the phone is ever used by anyone ever.
Because of course this venture isn’t about a phone at all. It’s about getting a digital advertising display board on to the High Street which will be pushing all sorts of products 24 hours a day until kingdom come. Probably adverts for NatWest and the Nationwide.
This particular phone is separate from the application to install digital display boards at various points on the High Street which Redbridge refused earlier this year, a democratic decision which was immediately challenged by a firm of multinational ad-pushers who appealed to Michael Gove for him to overturn it. No doubt he will do so.
Wansteadium is no nimby. But the Wanstead Village Conservation Area rules state that shopkeepers should not have “internally illuminated” signs, ie big plastic boxes with fluorescent strips inside them. Most of them observe it – and why not, it’s part of keeping Wanstead villagey.
So while our local shopkeepers abide by these rules, advertising and phone box firms can seek to drive an illuminated coach and horses through the High Street.