RKC Estates’ planning application for the kiosks were approved by Norwich City Council at the beginning of June. The successful applicant is a Sussex-based national retail chain operating out of unused telephone boxes. Architects Bentleys and Carter submitted the plans to the city council on behalf of RKC Estates. This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, is to be used as a tiny shop selling cacti. Plans for coffee to be sold from disused phone boxes in Tombland have been approved – Credit: Daniel Moxon
This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, will be converted into a modest shop selling cacti ranging from £3 starter plants to £100 collectibles. – Photo courtesy of Daniel Moxon After designs were approved, two unoccupied traditional phone booths will be turned into little coffee shops. The Tombland BT kiosks will be converted into tiny shops offering hot beverages, ice cream, and other items suitable for street sale.
The K2 kiosk was Britain’s first red telephone box. It was the winning design from a 1924 competition to find the design for a national kiosk. Historic England figures show there were 1,700 examples of the K2 installed between 1926 and 1935. The total number of surviving K2 kiosks in the UK is now around 220. Figures from Bentleys and Carter state more than 2,000 phone boxes have been adapted for different uses to suit the 21st century. The Tombland units will be run within normal business hours.
Paul Carter, director of Bentleys and Carter, said the scheme has already been successfully rolled out across the country including in cities such as London, Brighton and Edinburgh. He added: “The last 20 months and unprecedented circumstances caused by the global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way traditional retail and hospitality works. They will still remain painted in BT phone box red and a maintenance programme will see the kiosks fully refurbished every two years.