[ENT] Angry teenagers accuse village elders of ‘racism’

A row has flared after teenagers demanded a Black Lives Matters message should be posted in a disused phone box.

Urchfont, near Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire has a population of around 1,000 people,  but it has become the setting of an international race row. 

Teenagers have accused ‘village elders’ of ‘racism’ after they prevented the youngsters from posting messages supporting the BLM movement. 

Urchfont Parish Council was asked by a group of young people, upset by the death of George Floyd in America, if they could use the box to create ‘a historical information point’.

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Lisa Kinnaird, pictured, is standing beside a phone box in Urchfront Village Wiltshire

Local teenagers wanted to re-purpose the abandoned phone box as an information point about the Black Lives Matter movement

Local teenagers wanted to re-purpose the abandoned phone box as an information point about the Black Lives Matter movement

The local parish council voted against the proposal by five votes to three

The local parish council voted against the proposal by five votes to three 

The teenagers, who wanted to re-purpose the phonebox have been told the plan has been rejected by five votes to three. 

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Emily Kinnaird told the meeting: ‘Me and my friends thought it would be beneficial if Urchfont showed its support for the Black community.

‘I think it is important to use education to raise awareness of racism especially in predominantly white Wiltshire.’A

However, a majority of the local council claimed: ‘The telephone box should be used only for local community purposes, as such this proposal covering the wider issue of racism should be rejected.’

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Parish council chairman Graham Day said: ‘The council discussed a proposal for a possible use of the High Street telephone box which is owned by the council.

‘A lengthy debate on this matter took place in our established virtual meeting format, with substantial public input both from those present at the meeting and others who had submitted comments to our clerk.

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‘Urchfont Parish Council is a non-political body comprising 11 volunteer members. It represents the interests of all residents across the Parish.’

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One member of the public, who joined the meeting via Zoom, said: ‘While not mentioned in the current proposal Black Lives Matter, a patently political movement is clearly the catalyst, a movement that is demonstrably contentious and of itself offers little, to enhance the lives of the Urchfont community.

‘Both the previous and current request/s clearly indicate that it serves the particular interests of a specific group and therefore, regardless of merit, does not meet the criteria of applying to the broader community.’ 

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