Treehouse must have planning permission

A YELLAND grandmother s plans for a dream treehouse look unlikely to get off the ground due to local authority planning regulations. Joanne Bell, 65, has been told she must supply detailed scale drawings of the arboreal hideaway she was planning to buil

A YELLAND grandmother's plans for a "dream" treehouse look unlikely to get off the ground due to local authority planning regulations.

Joanne Bell, 65, has been told she must supply detailed scale drawings of the arboreal hideaway she was planning to build in an Aspen Poplar tree at the bottom of her garden.

Mrs Bell said she was "amazed" to learn that the treehouse, designed with the help of children from Instow Primary School this summer, required full planning permission from North Devon Council.

"Unfortunately and unbelievably, it seems I have to fill in a very complicated planning form and supply drawings in the same way as if I were building a four-bedroom house, on top of a �150 fee which I lose if my plans are rejected by the council's planning committee," she said.


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"These new regulations in my opinion are designed to stop children from being children and are perhaps only for youngsters with rich parents.

"It appears that I am not allowed to speak with a planning officer until after I have submitted my plans and drawings so have little idea what specifications I should conform to," she added.

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Planning officer Keith Bines told the Gazette: "The chances are that if you want to put up a treehouse, you will need planning permission to do so.

"Treehouse applications are not common, but they are governed by the same rules as sheds and greenhouses. The maximum height for a shed is four metres and the chances are you are going to exceed that height with a tree house.

"A lot of people don't realise that you actually need planning permission to paint your house; but this is covered by something called the General Permitted Development Order, set by central Government."

Mr Bines said that there was a raft of issues that planners needed to take into consideration.

"We would need to look at the specific details of the property; there could be an issue if the site is near a listed building or situated in a conservation area.

"The tree could also be subject to a preservation order and of course if you are up a tree there is also a reasonable chance there could be issues with overlooking.

"Like any application, the test is on the impact on the surrounding area."

Mr Bines said that anyone wanting to put up a treehouse should provide the planning department with a site location plan and metric scale drawing of what they are proposing to do. These could be submitted before an official householder application with appropriate forms and associated drawings to give the applicant an idea of whether permission is likely to be granted.

"The plans don't need to be draw by a professional person or architect but they need to be an accurate representation of what they want to build."

Despite the setback, Mrs Bell said she intends to press on and get the permission she needs to build the treehouse.

"Only last week, a pupil from Instow school rang me to see how the treehouse was coming on and it was very disappointing to have to tell him I didn't have the permission to build it," she said.

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