British Telecom (BT) representatives were grilled by councillors over plans to install 243 large green boxes of more than 5ft on pavements.

The telephone company was called before Richmond Council’s environment, sustainability and community overview and scrutiny committee after residents raised concerns over broadband boxes – which house technical equipment needed for the new high-speed internet system – appearing on their streets.

Councillor Scott Naylor said the boxes were “Tardis-like” and questioned their size, but BT officials said the new internet system needed certain technical equipment to work effectively, which led to the requirement for the large boxes.

Last Thursday William Osborne of planning consultants Harlequin – which is working with BT to deliver improved broadband across Richmond – pledged to keep working with the council to address the issues. But he suggested the box design could not be changed as it was a functional piece of equipment.