SOMERSET taxpayers will be forking out £7,500 in the aftermath of a group of travellers camping at a Taunton park-and-ride site. 

Travellers were reported to have arrived at the Gateway site on the A358 on Friday (April 6), and remained on site until Wednesday (April 11).

Somerset County Council, which operates the site, was forced to obtain a court order to remove the travellers, with the park and ride being out of action to commuters and tourists for the first half of the week.

The council has now confirmed that the bill for moving on the travellers comes to £7,500 when the legal costs, clean-up and lost revenue are taken into account.

READ MORE: PICTURES & VIDEO: Travellers move on after police and enforcement teams move in 

It cost the council £650 to clean up the site near Junction 25, with a pram and a broken television left behind along with shoes, fast food wrappers, dog waste and human excrement.

The council has also informed Avon and Somerset Constabulary after bus shelters and electric charging points at the site were found to be damaged.

Somerset County Gazette:

Somerset County Gazette:

MESS: The rubbish left behind at the Gateway park-and-ride site

The council also shelled out approximately £1,000 for court fees and a barrister to obtain a court order, and around £3,750 for bailiffs to move the travellers on.

The park and ride service generates an average of £700 per weekday for the council through ticket sales, with there being no service at weekends.

Because the park and ride had to be completed closed for three whole days between Monday and Wednesday (April 9 to 11), the council estimates that it lost out on £2,100 – which brings the total to £7,500.

A council spokesman said: “We’re delighted that the park and ride is open again – we know the last few days have been really frustrating for commuters as well as ourselves.

“Our response to this has been fair and we have acted as quickly as the law allows – and then made sure the site is in a fit state to be used by the public.

“We have, of course, considered various options for preventing illegal incursions like this from happening in the first place, but they are invariably prohibitively expensive and have an impact on the practicalities of operating a park and ride.”

The council declined to speculate as to why the travellers had chosen to camp on the park and ride rather than using one of the designated travellers sites which are provided across the county.