A TELEPHONE box in North Tawton has caused a stir after being removed by BT.

The removal has turned into a bit of a hot topic in the town, with many bemoaning its removal.

As a classic staple of Britishness, the telephone box was valued for its looks as much as its usefulness.

BT says that the council was informed two years ago that it would be taken away unless the council opted to take on the box for the nominal sum of £1.

Communities up and down the country are being asked to ‘adopt a box’ as BT discontinues what are widely considered a symbol of Britishness.

Former town councillor and North Tawton resident Christian Martin called the box an “architectural and design classic” and described its removal earlier this month as a “shame”.

While the initial charge is low, there is a catch, for the council would have to take on full responsibility for the box, including paying for its ongoing maintenance.

Confusion arose as to whether North Tawton town council had accepted BT’s offer or not.

Minutes from a council meeting held in 2020 reveal that the topic was discussed amongst the members.

The contract that BT offered was “strange”, according to the minutes, and therefore the council decided to wait to contact a solicitor to go over the contract.

A spokesperson for BT said: “In 2022 North Tawton Council expressed an interest in adopting this kiosk and entered into conversations with us, but did not follow up on the opportunity

“On April 11 2022 we wrote to the council and asked them to inform us if they wished to proceed with the adoption by a deadline of 11 May 2022, or we would assume the kiosk is no longer required for adoption and would proceed with its removal. We did not receive a response

“On 13 May 2022 we wrote to the council to advise that we were putting final arrangements in place for the removal of the kiosk and informed them to email us with any queries. A notice advising communities that the kiosk was subject to removal was also displayed to encourage parties interested in adopting the kiosk to make contact with BT Group

“The kiosk has now been removed in line with our messages to the Council and Ofcom’s guidance. We would encourage communities or charities to adopt red kiosks for only £1, so that they can transform them into things like lifesaving heart defibrillator units or libraries. More than 7,000 kiosks have been adopted already through our Adopt a Kiosk scheme. Interested communities can find out more at BT.com/Adopt”

A spokesperson for North Tawton town council, however, said: “the Town Council were completely blind sided by the removal of the telephone box and were not notified in advance”

“The Town Council and its residents are very disappointed that our notified intention to adopt this phone box was not adhered to by BT and we have had not notification from them whatsoever since 2019.

The telephone box was in a conservation area and its removal is detrimental to our town.”