Cactus shop owners' phone box turned premises put on sale for £35,000

Cactus shop owners face a prickly problem as historic phone box they were using as their business premises is put up for sale for £35,000

  • Simon Ward, 53, fears for future of Simply Cactus shop as premises up for sale 
  • He set up Norfolk shop with Timo Malagori, 43, and Dani Tagliaferra, 36, in June 
  • Red kiosk was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to mark George V silver jubilee

A cactus business owner who operates out of a phone box has been left stunned after his unique premises was put up for auction for a staggering £35,000. 

Simon Ward, 53, opened Simply Cactus inside the iconic red phone kiosk with friends Timo Malagori, 43, and Dani Tagliaferra, 36, in Tombland, Norfolk, just last month. 

But he now fears for the future of his business after the owner of the box put it up for auction – and it could sell by tomorrow ‘if the right price is reached’. 

Mr Ward told EveningNews24: ‘I’m shocked, I only found out when someone came along to take photos of the phone box saying it was up for sale.

‘I leased it for six months but after that, it looks like the cactus shop will be homeless. 

‘It’s attracted a lot of attention since I opened although the weather hasn’t been good for cacti.

(Left to right): Dani Tagliaferro, 36, Timoteo Malagoli, 43 and Simon Ward, 53, at their Simply Cactus shop in Tombland, Norfolk 

Simply Cactus (pictured) operates out of a phone box in Tombland, Norfolk, which has now been placed on auction with a guiding price of £35,000

‘It’s been a lot of fun but I don’t know what I’m going to do.’ 

According to local reports, the guide price of £35,000 for the 3ftsq box is more than a two-bedroom holiday home currently for sale in nearby Hemsby. 

Mr Ward pays just £3,000 per year to rent the tiny space, which is wired with electricity and measures 8ft3 tall.

The ‘K6 Jubilee’ phone box was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to commemorate the silver jubilee of the coronation of King George V.   

The late designer’s portfolio includes the Battersea Power Station in London and the former Bankside power station, which is now the Tate Modern.        

Mat Harris, of Bidx1, selling the kiosk on behalf of Brighton-based owners RKC Estates, said: ‘Own an iconic piece of British heritage located in busy pitch in Norwich with the added benefit of already having planning permission for retail use.

‘You own the kiosk and can resell at any point, but it is a heritage site, so you cannot remove them or alter the exterior. 

‘The kiosk is registered as a listed building at Historic England.’ 

It comes after BT sold off the red kiosks for as little as £1 to communities which wanted to convert them into defibrillators or other beneficial installations.  

This current home of Simply Cactus is for sale at livestream auction with no extra service charges or ground rent to pay.

Those wanting to operate a business from the box must obtain a licence.  

Simon Ward, 53, who runs the Simply Cactus business with two others, said he ‘does not know what he will do’ if the phone box he operates from is sold 

‘Open dry days, Fridays and Saturdays’: Sign reads on phone box which is home to Simply Cactus business while (right) a selection of the cacti on offer

While there is another phone box next to Mr Ward’s business, it is not up for sale.  

Bids for the premises of Simply Cactus are currently being taken and it could be sold as early as ‘tomorrow’ if the right price is reached.  

While other phone boxes are on sale for around £2,750, the £35,000 being requested for the kiosk in Tombland is not unheard of. 

Earlier this year a phone box in London was placed on the market for £45,000.   

The 100-year-old kiosk in the City of London was advertised on Rightmove as a business space, despite covering just nine square feet.

Phone boxes are said to fetch high values because of planning permission, which this one has, and also because of the potential business use.  

It comes after 25-year-old entrepreneur Tayyab Shafiq set up the ‘world’s smallest takeaway’ after opening a curry house in disused phone box on Uxbridge High Street in London last year. 

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