RESIDENTS have spoken out against the removal of an old BT phone box that was used as a community library.
The books in the box on the corner of Walford Road and The Avenue in Ross-on-Wye were reportedly dumped on the ground when it was taken away two weeks ago.
Neighbour Claire Edwards said BT had told her the town council could have ’adopted’ the phone box, but they in turn claimed they could only have done so for a defibrillator, not a community book repository.
Former town mayor Cllr Daniel Lister said he was "sad" to see it go and would investigate the funding of a possible replacement structure through Arts in Rural Gloucestershire.
"As a town councillor I was aware it was being used as a library and used it myself too when passing," he said, posting alongside a photo of a post box now used for books near his house.
"I asked for it (the phone box) to be kept - this can be found via past committee meeting minutes."
The call box was used by the community after its use as a call box ceased some four years ago.
Claire posted: "As many of you know, it has been used for a very long time as a community library.
"A lot used it, mothers coming and going from the school in The Avenue, as well as retired.
"For the elderly population, for whom the walk into the town and back is too far, I feel they will miss it the most.
"It was full of books when it was removed - general knowledge, educational, fiction, non-fiction, as well as children’s books.
"BT have informed me that Ross Town Council had the option to adopt the kiosk (to either house a defibrillator or use as a community library) as late as November 8, 2021, but chose not to.
"If that’s the case, it’s very disappointing and a missed opportunity to have kept a valuable community asset.
"In fact, the town council didn’t know it was being used as a community library until I called them a couple of weeks ago, which I found rather astonishing."
She later added that the council later informed her that they could have adopted it to house a defib but not as a community library and she was checking this.
"We can’t get the BT phone box back but can ask the councils to reinstate a community library on this site or another close by, and stress what a community asset it was."
Claire also added: "As I understand it, they (the books) were put on the grass verge and under the bushes and although some perished, the others were taken to charity."
One woman posted "We miss it so much!" and another added "This is a real loss of a community asset. Such a shame."
A third said: "My husband said it was gone and all the books had been dumped on the grass!"
And a mum added: "Such a shame. We had a few books from there that we had spotted that my five-year-old loves. We also placed a number of books in there in return, )only) to find it gone a few days later."