New chapter for Banbury’s phone box library

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Banbury’s phone box library was unveiled on Saturday in South Bar Street with a ceremony attended by local residents, members of Banbury Town Council, Hawkins Steel and BT.

The library is now open to keen readers to borrow, return and even add new volumes to the collection.

In February the miniature book exchange made national headlines after being threatened with eviction from the working payphone outside St John’s RC Church.

But a deal was reached between Banbury Town Council and telecommunications giant BT which has seen an additional, phoneless kiosk with more shelving installed alongside the existing payphone.

The work to refit the kiosk was carried out by Hawkins Steel in Thorpe Way, Banbury.

Leader of Banbury Town Council Kieron Mallon said: “This is the perfect ending to a long-running saga. It is a positive outcome when all seemed lost. I’d like to thank everyone concerned for their efforts. It is a job well done.”

Phil Bennett, BT’s commercial field officer, added: “This was an unusual situation that required a special solution.

“We’re only too aware of the fondness people feel for the traditional red phone boxes. This is clearly shown by the popularity of our payphone adoption scheme, which was developed to enable communities to keep their local red phone boxes and put them to a different use after they were no longer used for their original purpose as working payphones.

“Unfortunately it’s simply not feasible for us to let anyone install equipment or items in any of our working payphones.”