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Bucks enforcement reclaims £59,000 costs from property owner

Words: Huw Morris
Garden before and after tidying

Buckinghamshire Council’s planning enforcement team has successfully secured the clear-up of unsightly clutter and removal of an illegal extension in the garden of a property in High Wycombe.

Following complaints from neighbours, two planning enforcement notices were served on the owners in 2013. An old dishwasher, washing machines, gas canisters and an illegal extension remained in the garden despite several site visits.

The council hired a specialist contractor to clear the site and recharge the costs to the owner who subsequently refused to pay up. To reclaim the money, the council put a charge on property to be reimbursed when the property was sold. The house was due to go to auction last week but the amount owed to the council – £59,000 – has now been repaid by the owners.

“While we always try to find an amicable solution with property owners to remedy breaches of planning control, the council is more than willing to take action of this kind where it is appropriate to do so,” said deputy cabinet member for planning enforcement Gary Hall. “In this case we gave the owners plenty of opportunity to clear the site but they ignored all our attempts. 

“The site is not as clear as it should be, but equally it is not as bad as it was, and we are continually working with the owner to clear the land again at his own expense.”

Image credit | Buckinghamshire Council