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Pricey narcissi

By March 20, 2012News

Here’s a question for you.  If I asked you to name a price for removing the insides of a telephone box, tidying it up, giving it a new lick of paint and filling it with pretty flowers, what would you say?  £500?  £1,000?  £2,000?

Last time we got a painter into Boriswatch Towers to repaint our meeting room and to leave a nice bunch of lilies on the table (we had an important meeting that day) it cost us £450 + VAT.  I reckon it should cost no more than that for a quick phone box job.

The reason I ask is that a green project that saw two old telephone  being transformed into flower displays thanks to Government money has been welcomed by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.  At a total cost of £92,500.  £92,500! reports that ‘Miniature ivy, pansies, narcissus and polyanthus are among the blooms now growing in the two traditional red phone kiosks, which were stripped down and repainted by Islington Council staff thanks to Government cash.’

By my reckoning, even taking into account the hanging baskets and barrier baskets that have been installed as part of the project, each phone box cost tens of thousands of pounds.  You could have bought a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show for that!  Cllr Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, said: “These telephone kiosks bring a bit of extra colour and sparkle to the streets and have helped give the area a lift.”

A lift? For £92,500 they’d better cut crime by the equivalent of four policeman or give people enough of a lift that the council can sack five nurses.  Dear oh dear.

Boris said: “London’s local town centres and high streets have a hugely important part to play in the capital’s economy so it’s vital we pull out all the stops to make them attractive places to visit, work and do business.

“It’s great to see how my Outer London Fund is helping to deliver such great results in Archway.”

Sheesh. We’re in the wrong job.  We should be painting phone boxes and growing ivy for a living…


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