Environmentalists hope to turn blue TARDISes green

Posted May 2, 2012 by Mathew Wace Peck
Edinburgh Greens have urged Lothian and Borders Police to rethink their decision to sell off 22 of the Scottish capital’s blue police boxes.
Traditional blue police box on Princes Street  Edinburgh  Scotland
Traditional blue police box on Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland
68838 on Flickr Creative Commons
In a swift response to the news of the sale, which was reported yesterday by Digital Journal, the Edinburgh branch of the Scottish Green Party has suggested that instead of selling the police boxes, consideration should be made to renting them out.
Furthermore, the Edinburgh Greens suggest that priority should be given to young retailers otherwise unable to afford the cost of renting retail space in the city.
Gavin Corbett – the Green candidate for the Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart constituency – explained the idea: “There are plenty of empty retail units around town but start-up costs and rents are too high for most young people looking to get going with new ideas that they have.”
Corbett also voiced concern that if the police boxes are sold off, they could be removed from Edinburgh altogether. “Edinburgh’s police boxes are a great feature on our streets, but many are looking unloved and under-used […] I’d much rather see a scheme where they are done up and rented out to young entrepreneurs,” he said.
Ahead of Thursday's local council elections, Corbett promised that, if elected, he’d work with the city council and the police to ensure that “these assets could be kept in public hands and put to use as soon as possible.”
In total, Lothian and Borders Police own 42 police boxes, which, according to a recent freedom-of-information request made by Edinburgh Greens – costs the force £8,477 per annum in cleaning, repair and maintenance bills.
The blue and the green
Blue police boxes of differing designs were first introduced to British streets in the 1930s. Their iconic status has been secured by the use of one of those designs in the long-running BBC science-fiction television series Doctor Who. In the show, the Doctor – currently played by 29-year-old Matt Smith – travels through time and space in what looks like a blue London police box but is, in fact, a TARDIS. While small on the outside, the TARDIS (which stands for time and relative dimension in space) is actually dimentionally transcendental; in lay terms, much bigger on the inside than the outside.
The plan by the Greens would keep the police boxes in the city and help young business people to gain a foothold in the retail sector.
If the sale plans go ahead, successful purchasers will be required to repaint their acquisitions in a colour other than police-box blue. As to whether that will be the case if the environmentalist's plan succeeds is not yet known ... but green would be an obvious colour to choose!