Defunct Waterloo phone box could become coffee kiosk

A Government-appointed planning inspector has ruled that a defunct red phone box can be used as a coffee kiosk.

The ruling for the phone box outside the Waterloo Action Centre in Baylis Road overturns Lambeth council’s decision to veto the proposal.

The local authority had rejected proposals for retail use of Grade II listed phone boxes around Waterloo, arguing that they should continue to be used for the purpose they were designed for.

An appeal against the council’s latest decision concerning the Baylis Road phone box was considered by planning inspector Cullum Parker.

Mr Parker said: “The proposal does not necessarily seek any seating on the wide pavement area, nor does it seek any awnings or parasols or similar equipment to be sited on the pavement. If that was to occur, then there are other regulatory regimes which would likely consider such matters.”

The red phone box is located outside the Waterloo Action Centre (Picture: Google Street View)

The inspector noted the council’s concerns that turning the phone box into a coffee shop would be an “an historical use of the building”. But, Mr Parker said the original use “is no longer considered necessary by phone providers”.

The inspector continued: “The evidence before me gives examples of where the iconic ‘red telephone box’ has been used for alternate uses such as public libraries, salad bars, and other such uses.

“It is preferable that, in the absence of a telecommunications demand for the listed building other uses are found.”

Mr Parker noted that he had received objections to the appeal proposal – including from the trustees of the Waterloo Action Centre – but did not deem them to merit refusal of planning permission.

Pictured top: The phone box outside the Waterloo Action Centre in Baylis Road (Picture: Google Street View)

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