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'Village lost part of history' as phone box goes.

Byline: ANNA LEWIS Reporter anna.lewis@walesonline.co.uk

RESIDENTS of a Rhondda village say they have lost a "part of its history" after the removal of a historic red phone box.

Villagers in Blaencwm have begun a campaign to restore a phone box which was removed on July 17.

The iconic landmark, which stood on Hentrewen Road, was collected by BT, along with a number of others in the area, following a consultation in 2016.

But residents have said it could have been used as part of the Rhondda Tunnel restoration project.

Resident Lesley Crew said: "It's an iconic part of Blaencwm. It's such a pretty little village and now without the box there's just an empty space.

"It would have been a lovely feature as part of the surrounding area of the tunnel.

"A lot of things have been taken away and we will never get our industry back, so we have to rely on attracting tourists to this beautiful area."

Ms Crew, 57, said many residents were unaware of the consultation after a notice was put inside the phone box itself.

She said: "The maddening thing is that we could have had the opportunity to buy it for PS1. We would desperately like to get it back, even if it's put in storage for the time being."

The removal of the Blaencwm phone box follows after one was removed from Blaenrhondda.

Rhondda Tunnel Society chairman Stephen Mackey said: "The phone box at Blaencwm was a lifeline for many, many years.

"When I was a young lad I used to climb on it. Not only was it a phone box, it was a shelter for cuddling in or if you were caught in the rain. It's a shame it's gone, we wanted it for our project.

"We will make some inquiries to see if we can get it back, but as of yet it's proving difficult."

A BT spokesman said: "Usage of pay phones has continued to decline over the past decade and we consulted Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council on the removal of a number of pay phones in 2016, following the process agreed with industry regulator Ofcom.

"The council approved the removal of this pay phone, and although we actively promote community adoption of pay phones in our consultation letters, the council didn't apply to adopt this kiosk.

"Local community groups can apply through our Adopt a Kiosk scheme to adopt red pay phone kiosks for PS1, but this must be done prior to any consultation process ending."

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Residents of Blaencwm have been left unhappy after the removal of a traditional red phone box

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 26, 2018
Words:441
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