BT demand prime advertising spot on the Town Hall Square

Image from the application, with kiosk replaced (phone boxes 3 & 4 just out of shot). Imagine things without the temporary hoardings.

UPDATE JANUARY 2022: BT haven’t finished with us yet – they’ve gone to appeal. We’ll update further down the line.

STOP PRESS: The application for the advertising hub was refused consent by Haringey’s planners on July 14th. See here for details of officers’ report and decision notice.

The removal of the four dilapidated phone boxes from the Town Hall Square is long overdue, so we were pleased this weekend to hear of action from BT. Alas, hopes were premature. Two are proposed for replacement, the others get to stay. Not only that, but the whole exercise appears simply an excuse for BT to do what they really want: erecting a digital advertising screen masquerading as a telecommunications device (sorry, ‘street hub’). It seems BT, a private company, are simply leveraging their privileged position regarding planning permitted development with the express purpose of cynically raking in some advertising revenue.

If they had suggested ridding us of all four lousy urine-stained kiosks maybe BT’s opportunism would be just about bearable.

What we really need is to remove the kiosks (there are alternatives around) and install a digital notice board solely for Crouch End town centre and Hornsey Town Hall arts centre info (perhaps Haringey could set out a planning condition that demands 100% community control of the images on the BT screen. See how keen they are then). You can oppose the grubby little money making exercise if you so wish: main planning application at HGY/2021/1652.

It’s worth repeating that this is Crouch End’s main square. The control and design of the space, and therefore street furniture is of real significance, whether for pedestrian movement, the aesthetics of the conservation area, the impact on the group of listed buildings, the placemaking and the indirect effects on the local economy.

The HTH developers, FEC, are reportedly spending £1m on the new square, which will be despairingly compromised if Haringey don’t find a way to improve a fronting pavement (which is public highway) blighted by the phone boxes and bus shelter. Let’s hope the whole group of dated, battered street furniture can be removed by the grand opening in 2022.


  1. Adrian Essex

    I’ve seen this greeted on Facebook as ‘good news’ but ‘kicking the can down the road’ is closer. The 4 unsightly, filthy, ad-encrusted , utterly redundant
    excrescences remain with no-one who might actually be able to do something taking charge.
    CENF has discharged its duty as a planning body. It has commented cogently and fully on the importance of the site in planning, conservation and regeneration terms. It has alerted councillors, officers of the council, cabinet members and the Hornsey Town Hall Trust (all groups apparently capable of taking action) and made it very clear to BT where its duty to the public lies.
    Someone needs to get a grip.







  2. Amanda E Carrara

    It’s clear the BT UFO is refused permission. But the bigger picture is not clear. Basically the whole area needs to be demolished and started again. Otherwise why spend millions of pound on a development only to leave pissoirs in place at the tightest pedestrian point in CE. Who exactly needs to get a grip – Council, FEC?

  3. Mark Afford Author

    … Council owned land, BT owned pissoirs, and TfL owned bus shelter advertisement opportunity.

    But only Haringey can pull this together, we need someone at cabinet level to champion Crouch End town centre.

  4. Mark Afford Author

    UPDATE JANUARY 2022: BT haven’t finished with us yet – they’ve gone to appeal. We’ll update further down the line.


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