The iconic red phone box waiting to move to a new home in Uckfield town centre

Why the red phone box move is delayed

And town council tries to get permanent repairs to patched High Street pavements speeded up


It may be another 18 months before Uckfield Town Council will have the opportunity of moving its historic red phone box into the centre of town.

The disused box stands on the pavement near the entrance to the new railway station car park.

Councillors hope to locate it near Hartfields, just south of the old Post Office, where two modern-style telephone boxes stand.


Both boxes are listed on BT’s removal programme but the work cannot be done until August next year when a legal constraint is lifted.


Town centre payphones

Little used payphones in Uckfield High Street

Data given in a report to town councillors about the two boxes said that in the last 12 months, one kiosk had been used to make 112 calls, of which 27 were free.

Kiosk two had been used for 298 calls, of which 41 were free.


Uckfield Town Clerk, Holly Goring, explained the restraint of removing the existing payphones was contained in the provisions of section 58 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.

It is a restriction, she said, designed to prevent utility companies digging up newly resurfaced roads or pavements, just after works have been completed.

“A section 58 restriction will prevent planned works in freshly surfaced roads/pavements, but leaks and customer connections are allowed as the legislation accepts residents cannot be left without essential services for the remaining years of the restriction,” she said.

However, the town clerk is continuing to press the issue to try and make faster progress so that a way can be found to move the red phone box sooner.

Tarmac patching in Yorkstone paving


The town clerk also addressed the issue of how long utility companies have before they need to return to a site to complete a permanent reinstatement.

The issue of tarmac patching in High Street paving has been raised by residents and featured on this website.

Tarmac infill repair in Uckfield High Street

Tarmac infill repair in Uckfield High Street

Ms Goring said legislation gave the utility companies up to six months before they had to do the permanent reinstatement.

Brick paving

“This is to allow them to build a programme of work to make it worth buying a bulk load, or lorry load of materials, that would be used to reinstate the various small patches.

“The same concept applies to brick paving and concreting.

“Typically, utility companies will carry out temporary repairs using tarmac at the time that works are undertaken, before returning within the six month period,” she said.

The town clerk is trying to see if a way can be found for the temporary tarmac repairs in the High Street to be made good more quickly.

She said: “The town council has been liaising with East Sussex Highways to see whether works can be undertaken by one of its contractors to reinstate the pavements to the standard required to ensure the quality is in keeping with the newly laid Yorkstone paving.”

Red phone box background


The town council bought the red phone box for £1 to keep as part of the town’s history.

Councillors have been asked to talk with electors to seek ideas about future possible use, once it is moved to a central location.

Red telephone boxes in other parts of the country have housed noticeboards, small libraries, defibrillators, visitor/tourist information, miniature art galleries, postcards for sale and ATM cash machines.

See also:

Utility firms’ failed resurfacing is causing potholes, says Observer

Verge cutting has left smashed plastic alongside roads

Pledge to monitor Oaklea Way during construction works

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

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