VILLAGERS have said their request to transform a disused phone box into a book exchange has been ignored by Ryedale District Council (RDC).

In November 2019, Weaverthorpe Parish Council asked to adopt their phone box for £1 from BT, with the view to transforming the ‘eyesore’ into a book exchange.

However, RDC objected due to the loss of a working telephone in the village. After a year of consultations, RDC has urged BT to re-glaze the call box, clean the interior and ensure that the phone is connected and in working order.

Tracy Chapman, owner of Yorkshire Wolds Photography and Glamping, said Weaverthorpe residents’ felt that RDC ignored their wishes to adopt the phone box.

“The news from BT that we were no longer able to adopt the box was a complete surprise as although there was a consultation by RDC, they completely ignored our wishes to adopt the phone box,” she said.

“We are lucky to have very good mobile phone reception in our village so there is no need to have a public phone box and for this reason, the residents would prefer that the box is used as an exchange library.

“Fundraising has already started to enable us to renovate the box to its former glory subject to planning permission and we have been looking forward to giving it a new lease of life.

“With the phone box in our village in such a poor state of repair, we consider that BT are very unlikely to agree to spend money on renovating it only to find that residents won’t use it anyway.

“This has wasted a lot of time, when all that we want is for RDC to allow us to turn this piece of our village heritage in to a valuable resource for the community.”

A spokesperson for RDC added: “We appreciate that Weaverthorpe Parish Council would like to turn the payphone in their village into a resource for the community and are committed to working with them to find a solution.

“We feel that public call boxes provide a facility to residents and visitors to the district. The Weaverthorpe box is located on the Wolds Way trail, it’s there as a back-up if required in case of emergencies or variable mobile coverage.

“Since the payphone is currently in a poor state, we have asked BT to re-glaze, clean the interior and ensure that the phone is connected and in working order.

“This should enable BT to monitor the usage of the phone for a suitable period of time to judge whether there is a need for a payphone in this location.”