TWO telephone boxes in a borough's historic town centres have been given a new lease of life.

The classic red kiosk outside the former Ribblesdale Hotel-turned-Baroque pub Blackburn's Blakey Moor has been give a Townscape Heritage Project make over.

And the British Telecom kiosk on the junction of Market Street and Croft Street in Darwen's conservation area is to be fitted with a free cash machine.

The first revamp as been welcomed by Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley.

The second - the 18th such combined phone box and ATM in Lancashire - has been praised by Darwen councillors Dave Smith and Paul Browne.

The Grade II listed box red phone box at the junction of Blakey Moor and Northgate had deteriorated with rust, graffiti and broken windows.

The Townscape Heritage Project called in Euxton A-Team to repair it.

The work will see the box fully restored inside and out with materials provided by BT.

Councillor Riley said: “This is a well-known landmark in the area and an important heritage asset for the town.

"We are lucky to still have one, and I’m really pleased the Townscape Heritage Project has been able to fund its restoration.”

Only 10,000 of the iconic K6 red boxes, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1935 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V, still survive.

Of these 7,000 are purely decorative or have been repurposed and 3,000 have been listed by Historic England.

News of the planning application for the upgrade and fitting of an ATM at the Darwen kiosk was welcomed by local ward Liberal Democrat Cllr Browne.

He said: "This is brilliant.

"It kills two birds with one stone - keeping the phone box and providing a much-needed cash machine.

"We have lost a lot of banks in the town."

His Darwen West ward Labour counterpart Cllr Smith said: "This is an interesting idea. It is good to keep the phone box and there is a shortage of free cash machines in Darwen."

A BT spokesperson said: “The planning application relates to a proposed new unit that will have a cash withdrawal facility on one side and a payphone on the other side."

"There are already 528 of these kiosks across the UK providing a valuable service to communities.”

The £3.8million Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project aims to turn the area around Blackburn College and King Georges Hall into a leisure quarter of cafes, coffee houses and bars and public spaces.