A number of applications have been submitted by BT to install “Street hubs” around Woolwich town centre.
The hubs are in effect large advertising screens that – if approved – will be installed across the town centre.
BT sometimes get away with this by replacing existing phone boxes, but in this case nothing already exists.
The hubs are essentially advert screens at 75 inches in size, and would occupy areas of paving that see very high footfall, including near the new Woolwich crossrail station and adjacent bus stops.
BT’s existing hubs are already a blight:
Greenwich council are currently consulting on a £21 million project to be undertaken at Powis Street and Beresford Square. A stated aim being to remove street clutter, though current plans also look to install substantial amounts.
BT state obstructing pedestrians “is a sleek modern answer to the demands of a digitally connected, converged-media society”. There’s more PR-friendly waffle designed to sway the gullible, though nothing it does cannot be done in ways far less intrusive to the streetscape.
Amusingly, while acting as impediments to free flow of pedestrian, BT state they are good for “counting pedestrian numbers“.
The also claim benefits such as free USB charging, which I’m sure won’t break within two months and never be fixed again.
The proposed location could also hamper future cycle lane provision in a number of areas.
BT state councils receive free advertising as a sweetener to gain approval.
The key question is should public space be given over to a private company to make money, while at the same impeding pedestrians and potentially cyclists in future?
The latest applications continue a recent series including a site in Charlton beside Sainsbury’s.
If they gain approval, will they continue to seek to obstruct pavement space?