A High Wycombe homeowner has been forced to pay the council £59,000 after refusing to clear up their messy garden.

"Unsightly" clutter - which included an old dishwasher, gas canisters and washing machines - in the back garden of a house in Whitelands Road prompted a string of complaints from neighbours over the years.

Two planning enforcement notices were served on the owners back in 2013, but despite a number of site visits and regular contact with the owners, some of the rubbish - and an illegal extension - remained.

With the owner taking no action, the council hired a specialist contractor to clear the site and recharge the costs to the owner - who subsequently refused to pay up.

To get the money back, the council put a charge on his property so they would be reimbursed when the house was sold.

The house was due to go to auction on July 14, but the £59,000 owed 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."