Historian told to hang-up his hopes to save phone box

Alex Orchin with damaged phone box
Alex Orchin with damaged phone box

A history enthusiast’s dream to give new life to a derelict and recently damaged red phone box has been dashed by BT’s strict rules.

Alex Orchin, 25, of Allwood Crescent, Wivelsfield Green, hoped to restore a phone box, in Green Road, into a useful community service after it was hit by a car last Monday (August 31).

But BT has said he will not be allowed to do anything with it because it has a liability to remove damaged street furniture.

Alex said: “I’ve been doing a lot of research on them and in London they are being turned into different things, even mobile phone charging points.

“All across the country people are trying to find new reasons for phone boxes to exist.

“They are a part of the historical construction that make Great British history and once they are gone, they are gone forever.”

Mr Orchin said he had hoped to place the newly restored booth in a new, more accessible, location, such as on the edge of the village green.

A BT spokesman said: “We’re very sorry that we’re unable to help on this occasion.”

Police said a driver in a 4x4 Nissan hit two cars on the forecourt of Barnard and Brough Nissan garage and the phone box, at 9.45pm.

Brendan Billing, 36, of Ditchling Common, Burgess Hill, was charged with drink driving after the crash last Monday. He is on bail until September 15.