UPDATED FOLLOWING CONTACT FROM AVON FIRE & RESCUE: Saltford Parish Council (SPC) is sad to share that the Norman Road phone box, an asset of SPC and a familiar sight to residents, has been destroyed in a collision and removed. Contact has since been made with Saltford Parish Council by Avon Fire and Rescue.
The fire brigade has confirmed a collision took place in the early hours of Sunday morning, involving a vehicle and Saltford’s phone box. Unfortunately damage to Saltford’s phone box was very extensive, likely to the point that the identifying information showing it belonged to SPC was destroyed in the impact meaning the authorities were unaware who to contact (SPC’s ownership details were clearly displayed inside the phone box). SPC understands that the phone box was removed along with the vehicle following the collision and its base area cordoned off for safety. SPC will continue its communications with the police regarding this matter. We will update residents in due course.
SPC is grateful for all the information received regarding the removal of the phone box. Further to the information above, SPC urges anyone with information about this to report it directly to the police (not to SPC) via 101 using Incident Number: AS-20220215-0279 Alternatively, anonymous reports can be made to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by reporting online by following the links at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
The Norman Road K6 phone box was a well-known local sight, recognisable to both residents and the thousands of people travelling through the village every day on the A4 Bath Road. In recent years its use as a working phone box had dramatically decreased, leading to BT deciding to withdraw it from service.
Saltford Parish Council was pleased to have the chance to purchase the phone box on Norman Road from BT in October 2019. A nominal payment of £1 was made to BT. As an asset of SPC, it was held by the Parish Council on behalf of the Saltford community.
As with other SPC assets, it was insured and regularly checked by Councillors. Plans were well underway for its future refurbishment and repurposing. More information about these plans is in SPC’s December 2021 news article ‘Invitation for quotes: Norman Road phone box restoration – Phase 1’.
Thoughts as to its future use had started back in 2019. These were then put on pause during the lockdowns, and then again whilst SPC completed a similar restoration project on its other ex-BT phone box on the High St (for more on this project please see our June 2021 news article ‘Joint project funds new defibrillator at Saltford pub’). Following the success of this project, which was widely and positively commented on by residents, restoration and re-purposing of the Norman Road phone box had been an item for discussion at several recent SPC meetings.
Its restoration was due to start soon, and SPC had approved funds to purchase the replacement parts required. At SPC’s 1st February meeting (as referred to in the draft minutes under item 13) it was shared that local company Mobius had kindly offered to help part-fund the restoration of the phone box works. In addition and to further reduce costs, Mobius’s founder Lee Bignall – also a Saltford resident – alongside Cllr Chris Warren, Chair of SPC, had agreed to voluntarily give their time to carry out the restoration work required.
Flourish – another Saltford company – had also been in contact with SPC about the future use of the phone box. They had offered to fill the phone box with flowers, which they would maintain throughout the year, an idea that SPC was keen to embrace.
The final phase of the project was to install a defibrillator on the side of the phone box. SBS Design and Build together with Saltford Kitchens, founded by Saltford resident Nathan Sheppard, had kindly offered to pay the considerable costs for the defibrillator as well as its ongoing maintenance as a gift to the Saltford community. This had previously been reported in SPC’s July 2021 news article ‘Plans for new defibrillator in Saltford’. SBS Design and Build and Saltford Kitchens have their premises adjacent to the where the Norman phone box was, and it was planned that their staff would also be trained to use the defibrillator (Defibrillators can also be used by anyone, instructions are included – please see SPC’s ‘Saltford Defibrillators’ page for a location list of defibrillators, including a map for residents to save in case of an emergency).
All in all, SPC’s Norman Road phone box project was looking like another great initiative that demonstrated all that was positive about the active and caring community that Saltford is widely known to be. The aim of the project was to turn this tired-looking former phone box into not only an attractive asset for all passing by to enjoy, but also to ensure that easily accessible lifesaving equipment was located on this busy stretch of the A4 Bath Road. This was all to be achieved with minimal demand on SPC’s precept due to financial support from local Saltford businesses as well as the effort and time of local residents – just one of the reasons why SPC’s precept is one of the lowest in the B&NES Council area.
Though SPC owns the phone box, as an asset it is held on behalf of the Parish Council for all Saltford residents. As such Councillors and staff were shocked and saddened – as SPC understands residents will be too – when it became apparent that the Norman Road phone box had been damaged in a collision and subsequently taken from the site it had been located at these past decades.
SPC continues to be in contact with the police. Though SPC had insured the phone box, this particular one was Saltford’s, one that had been in the village for many years and one that SPC had great plans for. With the support of the community however, we hope to move forward positively from this incident.
Please follow Saltford Parish Council on Facebook and Twitter for future updates.
(All press enquiries to Cllr Chris Warren, Chair of Saltford Parish Council preferably via mobile phone at 07719 445477).
Images below show SPC’s Norman Road phone box taken in January 2022, and the site following the removal of the Norman Road phone box taken 14 February 2022.