07:45 Monday 03 December 2012

'Tear down your kids' treehouse'

Written byJOSH TAYLOR

A MAN has been ordered to tear down a kids'  beloved treehouse — because it did not have planning permission.

Treehouse
Treehouse

Shane MacDonald has been given a month to demolish the structure he has spent nearly a year building as a Christmas present for his partner's daughters Saphire, six, and Scarlett, four.

The joiner, of Salisbury Drive, Midway, said: “The girls did nothing but cry when we told them and they are heartbroken.”

The treehouse measures more than 10ft at its highest point and has been built by Mr MacDonald in the back garden of his council-owned property.

But, following a complaint from a neighbour, South Derbyshire District Council said the treehouse did not have proper planning permission and was unsafe. Mr MacDonald has been given 28 days to tear it down.

He said: “We have been told we have to take it down or the council will take action and we will have to pay the costs for it.

“I have spoken to many residents, council workers and even councillors, and all agree the council is bang out of order.

“All anyone wants is a safe place for their kids to play.

“The treehouse would have been great for kids’ birthday parties and things like that.

“I suppose I will have to take it down but I want to get something else sorted for the girls instead, like a Wendy house.”

Mr MacDonald started building the treehouse 10 months ago after Saphire and Scarlett saw one while on holiday.

He promised to build one for them as a Christmas treat.

“We asked all neighbours up and down our road before we started so we could sort out any differences, but all was okay and many couldn’t wait to see it start going up,” Mr MacDonald said.

The council, however, said the treehouse did not meet national planning rules and claimed it was unsafe.

A spokesman for the authority said: “We came to the conclusion that a development such as this, under national law, needed planning permission, which was neither applied for nor granted.

“We also have a duty of care to ensure our tenants are safe and secure at all times.

“After inspecting the structure, it was clear it could put anyone who uses it at risk of harm.

“We are continuing to talk to to come to a solution moving forward.

“To use Mr MacDonald’s words, we want to help ensure that there is a safe place for the kids to play.”

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