Trying to stop unwanted phone boxes popping up on Westminster's streets has been likened to playing the arcade game "whack-a-mole".
You know - the one where you have to repeatedly stop annoying creatures popping out of little holes by hitting them hard with a mallet!
Westminster City Council has therefore welcomed a proposal to hand local authorities long-sought powers to limit the numbers of rogue phone boxes popping up - like moles - around Britain.
Councils nationwide have complained that the modern kiosks emerging on pavements alongside Britain's iconic red phone boxes, are just advertising hoardings posing as call boxes.
However the telecoms companies setting them up say they are providing a public service by removing ageing phone boxes off the streets, with some replacing them with interactive display kiosks that include services like free WiFi.
Westminster City Council has been lobbying for more control over its pavements after fielding applications for 300 phone boxes in the space of two years, which its planning chief has likened to a game of "whack-a-mole".
The central London borough, which already has more than 1,000 phone boxes, claims the kiosks represent an advertising space grab in high profile locations like Oxford Street, Victoria Street and Baker Street.
If the council had approved every application for Edgware Rd there would be one phone box every 15 metres, it said.
The kiosks have flourished because ageing legislation that promoted public access to calling services, has meant local authorities presently only have the power to consider whether to grant the sites requested, and whether they can feature advertising.
But Westminster, which has in the past taken its fight over kiosk applications to the courts, says the planning reform proposals unveiled this week will give them the chance to rule just how many of the kiosks its streets need.
Its planning chief Councillor Richard Beddoe said the government was giving Westminster a chance to take back "control of our pavements."
"Until now arcane planning rules have left the council playing whack-a-mole with the phone boxes popping up across our city. These aren’t the popular, historic red boxes we all love but ugly oversized advertising structures posing as telephone boxes cluttering our iconic streets," he said.
"Whilst we’ve had some success refusing and removing these monstrosities, telecoms companies can see the opportunity to make a quick buck and the applications keep pouring in. These new proposals are a big step toward consigning them to history.”
The proposal from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government said the need for public call boxes had been shrinking for some time due to the rise of mobile phone technology.
Despite this, local authorities are fielding increased numbers of applications for the boxes, and are facing increasing appeals to the Planning Inspectorate over attempts to block them.
The report acknowledged local authorities' concerns the kiosks were cluttering high streets, making them "less attractive" and posing pavement obstruction.
If the change goes through the proposal said it would not affect existing kiosks and their ads.
It said the increasing demand for mobile coverage and the 5G roll-out means telecommunications operators are increasingly needing to boost radio equipment on street level.
If councils are given increased powers to refuse the kiosks, it would be monitored to ensure they are balancing that against the demand for mobile network infrastructure, the report added.
The proposal to remove the current permitted development rights are open to public consultation until January 2019.