Alex Chalk has welcomed a landmark court ruling which will stop developers from installing outdated ‘Trojan’ phones boxes for use as advertising billboards. In a landmark court case, a High Court judge has now ruled that new phones boxes will now need planning permission.
Until the court ruling, phone boxes were treated as 'permitted development'. Companies only needed a licence from Ofcom to install one.
The Cheltenham MP had raised the issue directly with Minister Kit Malthouse last year in Parliament (September 2018). Mr Chalk challenged the Government about the need for “changes to the planning system which would be required to tackle the rise of so-called trojan phone box applications.”
Alex Chalk first highlighted the issue after Cheltenham Borough Council revealed that it had received requests to build phone boxes in 11 sites in the town centre. These included five sites in the High Street, three in the Promenade, and one each in Pittville Street, Winchcombe Street and at The Quadrangle.
Alex Chalk said: “I fully agree with the ruling in this case. It is clear that these are only masquerading as phone boxes. They’re just cheap advertising, installed without any real check or balance.
“With so much pressure on local high streets from online and out of town alternatives, the last thing we need is Cheltenham town centre crammed with a succession of low rate advertising hoardings”
Across the country, local residents have been complaining that developers are exploiting a legal loophole to install the phone boxes without planning permission.