When a steel box suddenly materialised in a quiet suburban cul-de-sac, residents at first wondered whether they had received a visit from Doctor Who. The truth is more down to earth.
The structure, which appeared without warning on the street, is a loo for bus drivers, and was installed by Transport for London at the last stop of the R2 route to Biggin Hill. Neighbours have nicknamed it the “Turdis” and are now battling for it to be removed.
Stephanie Willis, 33, who moved into the street in February, said: “I went to work at 6am and came back to see what looks like the Tardis at the bottom of our drive. I cannot tell you how ugly it is... absolutely disgusting.”
She added: “I now have a toilet at the end of my drive.”
Ms Willis, a consultant for a recruitment agency, said she fears the “monstrosity” could wipe as much as £10,000 off the value of her home.
She said: “I wouldn’t buy a house that has a toilet outside it. Who would? It’s going to attract rats, because it stinks.”
Ms Willis added: “Believe me, I’m going to burn my bra about this. I have never ever known anything like this. I will not rest until it’s gone.”
TFL was able to install the lavatory without formal planning permission under permitted development rights for infrastructure improvements. It said the choice of site was made after “detailed surveys and extensive planning”.
The junction of Melody Road and Whitby Close marks the end of the R2 bus route, with vehicles stopping there every 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday. The toilet can only be opened by bus drivers with a key.
Penny Clark, a self-employed beautician, said: “I came home on Tuesday to see this horrendous Tardis that looked like it’s landed here from outer space. I was expecting David Tennant to pop out of it.”
Richard Trebell, 41, a service engineer, said: “It’s in a dangerous place. It’s a blind junction on the brow of a hill. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”
Nick Fairholme, director of project and programme delivery at TfL, said: “We are sorry not all residents were aware of our plans to install a toilet before work began. Our courtesy letters did not reach all residents. We are investigating how this happened.”
Today, the loo’s glass window was shattered. Neighbours say a bird flew into it.