PLANS to save a unique Hyde landmark are being drawn up – but the clock is ticking to stop it being removed.
On the face of it, it may look like an old-style red phone box on Werneth Low. However, it can offer so much more.Not least a bit of mystery as the letters ‘TEJRJWNE’ on one side are foxing everyone. No-one knows what it means, why it is there or even how to pronounce it.
BT has served notice that it intends to remove the box, at the junction of Joel Lane and Werneth Low Road, after it was hardly used.
However, people can adopt it for just £1 and can convert it. Ones around the country have been transformed into a library, a museum and even a nightclub.
Now the group, known collectively as the Friends of Tejrjwne, hopes to take it on and has plenty of ideas of its own – but funding and plans must be agreed by November 27.
“We’d always looked at adopting it as we’d heard about the Adopt A Kiosk scheme,” said Mel Broughton.
“We want a community venture that’s available for the whole community of all ages to use.
“Lots of people wanted a defibrillator and that’s our intention, to get one in there, but a month or so ago it was noticed BT had put a notice up saying they intended to remove the phone box because of a lack of use.
“But it’s a local landmark and it has a lot of curiosity about it. We’re all aware of the mysterious letters that no-one really knows what they mean.
“There’s been several videos gone out showing them on social media and thousands of people have watched them. A Google search finishes the word off but still no-one has an answer.
“No-one’s figured out what it is or when it was put there. BT have even said they didn’t do it. It’s a mystery
“So we want to preserve it. People use it as a landmark and we’ll get it restored. It can house something important like a defibrillator but can also be used for wider community usage.”Other ideas for the phonebox, which is of the K6 design which was first brought in in 1936 and features a Tudor crown, include installing boards for walkers and detailing the local history.
What it takes is people to write to Tameside Council, who will then pass on messages to BT as they weigh up whether the phone box should be bulldozed or kept.
And Jane Williams, of the Gee X Brabyns Community Group, said action needs to happen or it will be lost.
She said: “We need to secure the adoption but the problem we have is there’s a limited amount of time as BT served a notice.
“It costs just £1 to adopt but the problem we have is we’re not a registered charity and you have to be one for BT to agree.
“However, we hope we’ve found an organisation that will support us which is a registered charity, a national organisation.
“But we need people to show their support by writing to the council, who will then send it through to BT.”
Chris Gee added: “We have to communicate to BT that the community doesn’t want to lose it.
“We understand that BT want to get rid of it because it’s not being used because of things like mobile phones.“But we just think there’s a greater community good that can come from keeping it. We can put in things like a walk, a children’s quiz on a board and things that promote wellbeing.
“That’s our vision. We’re pretty confident about us getting it and it coming off.”
There will be more cost involved than just £1 if the Friends of Tejrjwne get hold of the box.
Estimates for upkeep and transforming the land around it are currently in four figures.
“We know what we want to do and how much it would cost but it’s very early days,” Chris added.
“We’ll also need people to support it physically and skills to do any work that may be needed. But we’re a good, positive group that’s come together.
“Sometimes people say, ‘What do the council do?’ but sometimes it’s about us looking after our environment and safeguarding our heritage.”
The group has the backing of Hyde councillors Ruth Welsh and Phil Chadwick, who are co-ordinating the community’s response to the authority.
“We’re right behind them,” said Cllr Welsh.