You might think that a classic treehouse isn’t the kind of thing you need to get planning permission for, and you’d be right. Small treehouses that are nestled in a garden’s foliage and are largely out of sight (as all good treehouses should be) will be totally fine.
But if you have greater ambitions for your outdoor structure, you need to be careful, as one dad recently found out.
The Mirror reported on the story of Warren Radmore, who built a two-storey playhouse in his garden for his three children. However, after completing the structure he found out that he needs planning permission to leave it up in his garden.
He had received permission from his landlord to build the playhouse, on the condition he takes it down when he moves out, and had talked to the owner of the fields that run behind the house.
But despite this, he failed to get permission from the council to build the structure, and now needs to pay to get planning permission, because the structure is over 2.5 metres high and is more than a single storey.
Jenny Clifford, head of planning and regeneration, explained to the newspaper why Mr Radmore needed to apply for planning permission.
“The majority of children’s treehouses may be built without planning permission. In this instance permission was required due to the height and close proximity to the property boundary,” she stated.
So, what are the rules governing the likes of treehouses, garden sheds and outdoor home offices? Most of these structures are covered under what’s known as a permitted development, which means you can erect the likes of sheds and treehouses without having to apply for permission from your local planning authority.
Among the rules for permitted developments are that any outbuildings can’t have an eaves height of more than 2.5 metres, with a total height of four metres for structures with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof. They must also only be a single storey high.
If your structure is going to be within two metres of a boundary, it has to be 2.5 metres high or lower to be classed as a permitted development.
Of course, there are different rules if the property you live in is listed, or if it’s located in a national park or area of outstanding natural beauty – but in this case it’s best to get specific advice based on the project you want to carry out and where you live.
If you go to the effort of creating an amazing play space for your children, you will also want to make sure it’s secure. During construction, make sure you’re using thick and good quality wood for the walls, floor and roof; and it’s worth investing in a good quality door too.
Consider using security bolts and other locks to keep it secure when it’s not in use, and you may even want to look into investing in some technological security, such as CCTV systems if you’re especially worried about anyone trying to break in.