Residents of North Berwick were thrilled when they learned of plans to install a much-needed ATM machine carefully disguised as a “tasteful” classic red phone box in the centre of the town.
So it was no surprise they were left stunned after a delivery blunder led to a clunky grey alien box being unceremoniously dumped on the site in Quality Street last week.
BT Payphones had been granted planning permission to fit the classy cash machine – which also doubles as a public phone and mimics the world’s most famous design of phone box – in the town centre, but later dropped off the wrong one.
Now it has admitted it could be weeks before the grey “monstrosity” delivered instead is removed.
North Berwick councillor Tim Day said: “I was aware that permission had been granted for a red cast iron replica phone box containing a cash machine, so was surprised when this grey ‘Tardis’ appeared in what is a conservation area.
“I contacted the planners the next day and, to their credit, they took swift action in contacting the applicant, and I believe the box will be removed and a correct version installed in due course.”
The error has been made worse by the town’s status as one of the most picturesque in Scotland, with the area regularly featuring in competitions such as Britain In Bloom.
One resident said: “We were getting a tasteful telephone box with a cash dispenser hidden inside that would fit with the tenor of the street and instead were delivered a monstrosity.
“There has been talk of the ‘Tardis of Quality Street’.
“North Berwick consistently performs really well in the national In Bloom competitions and Keep Scotland Beautiful campaigns so this grey monolith is entirely out of keeping with that.
“At least the red telephone box is pleasant to look at and I believe it is replacing the Quality Street telephone box that used to stand there.”
Rosie Oberlander, chair of North Berwick in Bloom, said residents were “very surprised” to wake up and find the ugly cash machine had been installed.
“I think surprise would be the word,” she said. “It has only been there since last week but people were doing a double take when they saw it.
“It’s not what we were expecting and doesn’t fit in with the street and we look forward to a replacement,
“Its quite eye-catching with ‘cash’ written in large letters along the side.”
Sheila Sinclair, chair of North Berwick Community Council, said: “It seems this error is down to BT Payphones, who delivered the wrong thing after planning consent had been given for a red cast iron telephone box.
“Everybody was faintly astonished when it arrived, but it seems to be a genuine mix-up which is being sorted.
“It’s completely inappropriate for the area.”
The cash machine has attracted negative comment from as far afield as St Andrews, according to the community council.
A spokeswoman for BT Payphones said: “A modern ATM was delivered and fitted in error instead of our traditional red version.
“We’ve promised the council we’ll put this right and the people of North Berwick will soon have a cash dispensing red kiosk.
“We have some work to do to prepare the new kiosk, so we don’t have an installation date yet, but it will be in the next few weeks.
“As a seaside town which currently has relatively few ATMs, we hope it’ll be a great benefit to the community and to visitors.”