A LISTED police phone box - of the style used by TV's Dr Who for his time travelling adventures - is set to given a new lease of life.

Though long out of service the phone box in the Somerton area of Newport  has been a local landmark thanks to the popular television series and as one of the few remaining call boxes the police once needed for communication.

In the 1980s, it even made national headlines, after a scarf was unofficially painted around the box – in the style of Tom Baker's iteration of The Doctor.

But, despite having being granted Grade-II listed status, the police box has been said to have 'concrete cancer' – which means that the support beams have corroded, leaking acid into the concrete, weakening it.

What’s more, it has seemingly also been the victim of vandalism, with graffiti covering it.

However, work is soon set to be carried out to restore the box, on Acacia Avenue adjacent to Chepstow Road, back to its former glory.

According to Newport City Council, the box will be restored and repainted – including the famous scarf.

The National Wales: Newport's 'TARDIS' as it looks todayNewport's 'TARDIS' as it looks today

It is not yet known when the work will be carried out.

One thing is known, as it will be more than 10 years since the police box last received any attention, when Welsh Government historic environment service Cadw awarded a grant to a local community group for restoration work.

At the time it was hoped the recently revived Dr Who series, that is produced by BBC Wales and uses filming locations across south Wales, would lead to renewed interest in people visiting the call box.


Commenting on plans to restore the police box to its former glory, Cllr Roger Jeavons, Newport City Council’s cabinet member for city services, said: “I’m delighted that the council is able to give the former police box a new lease of life.

“Although it has been impacted by concrete cancer, the “TARDIS” – as it is known locally – is an important local feature and is regarded with great affection by residents.”

While it is the last remaining police box in Newport, in their heyday, it was by no means the only one, it's thought there 30 in Newport area.

Police boxes were once used by officers to phone into the station or by members of the public to contact the police.

However, improved radio infrastructure and eventually, mobile phone technology, saw these boxes confined to the history books for the most part – with two exceptions: the TARDIS as seen in Doctor Who, and Somerton’s own box, which continues to stand the test of time.

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