Scrap cars, mounds of rubbish and an illegal extension have been removed from a house in Castlefield by the council – landing the owners with a £60,000 clean-up bill.

Repeated attempts by Wycombe District Council to get the owners of the house in Whitelands Road to clear up the mess and demolish the ramshackle extension – including two planning enforcement notices – have all failed, so contractors moved in to get rid of 10 tonnes of waste on September 26 and 27.

Nigel Wicks of Enforcement Services Ltd, who carried out the work, said the illegal extension – which someone was living in – “housed some of the most squalid living conditions I have seen in 30 years enforcement experience, including mould, damp and rat infestation”.

It is only the third time in 30 years that the district council has had to take “direct action” to clear a property.

A spokesman for the council said that public safety was a major factor in the decision to clear the site, with the fire service previously attending the house because of the “continuing and immediate risk of fire which could cause damage to this and other properties in the area as well as posing a serious risk to human health”.

The work to clear the property was carried out by a team of specialist planning enforcement contractors and the council says it has taken “proactive steps” to recover the £59,854 cost from the landowners through a court order.

Cllr David Johncock, cabinet member for planning and sustainability at the council said: “Usually it is possible to resolve a situation like this by working with people but sometimes we just hit a block.

“In cases like this it’s not just unsightly for the neighbourhood and the people living there, but there are very real safety issues so we’re sending out a strong message that we can, and will, take tough direct action if we need to.”

If you have questions about your own property or a neighbour’s, contact 01494 461000 or use the planning enforcement contact form at