Do I Need Planning Permission to Build a Treehouse?

February 20, 2017 1:29 pm Published by

Families up and down the country are both surprised and angry to find that their local planning office can ask them to take down their treehouse or even their child’s playhouse. A series of little-known changes to planning permission brought in almost 10 years ago made it easier to make some changes to homes, but made it more difficult to build structures that might have an impact on your neighbours’ privacy – this includes treehouses or structures above a certain height which might therefore overlook the garden or offer a line of sight into your neighbour’s property that wasn’t previously available.

Treehouses and All Raised Platforms Need Planning Permission

All treehouses now need full planning permission – including treehouses and some multi-storey playhouses that you can buy from retailers like Argos, Costco and John Lewis. This has driven up the cost of adding a treehouse to your garden and entirely removes the spontaneous aspect – planning applications start from £150 and it is likely that you will also need to provide detailed drawings and even Ordnance Survey maps showing the exact location of the treehouse so that planning officials can assess the impact on surrounding properties.

The rule does not specifically target treehouses, but ‘verandas, balconies, and raised platforms’, with ‘raised’ being defined as being over 30cm from the ground. It typically takes around 6-8 weeks for a response, and it is important to gain planning consent before you do the work as you may be asked to take the structure down if it does not comply with planning guidelines.

Parents are often frustrated that kits do not include information on planning permission or how to apply for it, so they assume that they can buy and assemble a treehouse with no further planning or permission required. Retailers sometimes argue that they are ‘temporary structures’ which are not covered by the rules, but ultimately it is the decision of your local planning office and most believe that they will require consent.

What is the Upside?

While these rules do make building a treehouse more time-consuming and expensive, it also means that you can go beyond the simple treehouses of your childhood and build something truly impressive. Some parents believe that if their project needs planning permission, they may as well justify it. This has meant that treehouses can have multiple stories, electrical power, balconies, and even bedrooms to spend the night rather than just a couple of hours playing. You can build a safe and beautiful treetop hideaway for both adults and children to enjoy.

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This post was written by Innermedia Ltd