An investigation of the feasibility of reducing the external dose rate in a recreational housing area located between the settlements of Guta and Muravinka, Bryansk Region, Russia, which had been contaminated by the Chernobyl accident more than a decade earlier was made. Removal of contaminated topsoil was carried out over an area of about 2000 m2, optimising the thickness of the removed layer according to an assessment of the vertical contaminant distribution. A layer of clean sand was applied to shield against radiation from residual contamination in the ground. Careful monitoring of dose rates in reference positions showed that this could reduce the dose rate outdoors by about a factor of 6. The replacement of a roof was found to reduce the dose rate considerably inside the house. A cost analysis of the operation is presented.