£25k of Wolverhampton taxpayers' money to clean up travellers' mess

The clean-up of an illegal travellers camp cost Wolverhampton taxpayers £25,000.

£25k of Wolverhampton taxpayers' money to clean up travellers' mess

The site in Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, was left strewn with rubbish including mattresses, tyres, a battered old caravan, cardboard boxes and human waste.

It left Wolverhampton council with a bill of £25,000.

Rubbish left by travellers in a field off Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield

It took 10 staff two days to clear up the mess that had been left behind, with workers pulled off their usual cleaning duties elsewhere in the city to deal with the travellers site.

Wednesfield North councillor Phil Bateman today said he was 'astounded' by the bill.

"We can find a lot more things to spend our money on," he said. "But, having said that, it did need to be cleaned up, it couldn't be left as it was.

"It is a valuable site for the community, a major resource and a wildflower habitat, but the cost of the clean-up will leave people in Wednesfield North gasping at the resource that has been required to clean it up. I am in shock at it.

"It is unfair. The issue is not just the fact that they arrived, the issue has to be around the debate about how fast you can move them on.

"They were there for six days and they could have been there for a shorter period which may have been less cost of the clean up.

Rubbish left by travellers in a field off Kitchen Lane

"I am absolutely astounded by that cost."

Around 30 caravans moved on to the site a fortnight ago and stayed for six days. But when they were forced to leave after being served with a council legal notice, the travellers left behind a trail of mess.

The £25,000 covered the cost of staff and resources, the removal of the caravan, damage caused to wooden bollards and the installation of new bollards to secure the site, as well as the cost to dispose of the waste.

Councillor Peter Bilson, the council's deputy leader and cabinet member for city assets, said: "Whenever this happens the council is forced to incur the costs of the damage done and the mess left behind.

"In this instance we have put in place extra measures to secure the Kitchen Lane site to try and prevent this happening again in the future.

"I sympathise with the residents in that area and understand the public anger about the inevitable cost to the taxpayer.

"This is a problem all local authorities are facing and it is regrettable we are left to pick up the pieces."

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