World

Man opens ice cream shop in seaside telephone box

May 29, 2024
Jonathan Parsons' ice cream shop is in Tynemouth. — BBC
Jonathan Parsons' ice cream shop is in Tynemouth. — BBC

LONDON — TYNE MOUTH, North Tyneside--Jonathan Parsons has transformed an old telephone box into the Telephone Box Cafe, opening its doors on Saturday.

Once an "eyesore," the box now serves ice cream and coffee, a process that Parsons never imagined would get planning permission.

"You know, it needed some love," Parsons said. "I never thought in a million years I would get planning permission."

Parsons acknowledged that the concept of a telephone box cafe was not new, with several examples in London. "But none of us like to venture very much up there, because why would you when you've got Tynemouth?" he remarked.

The journey to opening the cafe was challenging. The planning permission process required a detailed 37-page study of the area's history to prove the shop would not negatively impact the locality.

Parsons described many "sleepless nights" spent figuring out how to fit everything into the small space. Pointing at the ice cream machine, he said, "This is the only commercial soft serve ice cream [machine] that would fit in this box."

Inside the tiny cafe, there is an ice cream machine, a coffee machine, a water tank, a fridge, and a sink. "One of the red lines for the council was that we had to have a sink with running hot water," Parsons explained. The solution was a mini-hand wash sink attached to a water tank that provides instant hot water, a system typically used by truckers.

Since its opening, the public's reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. "I was worried that people might be offended that we've kind of ruined a bit of British history – but they haven't," Parsons said. "I haven't heard a single bad word about it." — BBC


May 29, 2024
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