Council reclaims £59,000 costs from property owner who refused to clear unsightly garden

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 Whitelands Road, High Wycombe.

Following complaints and concerns from neighbours, two planning enforcement notices were served on the owners back in 2013. Despite numerous site visits and regular contact with the owners, an old dishwasher, washing machines, gas canisters and an illegal extension remained in the garden.

With the owner taking no action, the council’s only option was to go down the legal route, hire a specialist contractor to clear the site and recharge the costs to the owner who subsequently refused to pay up. To get this money back, the council put a charge on his property so we would be reimbursed at the point the property was sold. The house was due to go to auction on 14 July 2021 but the amount owed to us - £59,000 - has now been repaid by the owners.

Councillor Gary Hall, Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning Enforcement said: “Whilst 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. 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.

"The council’s firm but fair approach to planning enforcement is producing some positive outcomes which have a real benefit to Buckinghamshire residents. I hope that this particular situation acts as warning to others who consider flouting planning control and remind them that the council will use its powers to remedy such breaches."

If you suspect a planning breach in your area please contact our planning enforcement team via our website.