Frustrated dad forced to seek planning permission for treehouse after neighbours complain their privacy has been invaded

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A Stonebroom carpenter has been forced to seek planning permission for his children’s treehouse after complaints from his neighbours that the structure invaded their privacy.

Paul Bryan, 38, of High Street, said he had wanted to build a good quality, traditional-style timber-framed building for his three young boys to play in.

But the father-of-three said he was confused when he received a letter from North East Derbyshire District Council saying he would have to apply for retrospective planning for the playhouse, which is just over three metres high.

He added: “The neighbours had complained so I went through planning and every officer who came out was wondering why they were there.

“I thought the neighbours would eventually get over it but they would not let it go.

“The funny thing is that one of the neighbours who was complaining about it has a balcony overlooking everyone.”

Paul and his wife’s retrospective planning application was accepted by North East Derbyshire District Council but the couple are annoyed that they have had to spend more than £400 in the process.

Paul said: “It was quite stressful because I put a lot of effort into the build and if it had to come down I would have been gutted.

“I have tried not to feel bitter about this because that does get you down.

But you won’t be surprised to hear that we don’t talk to the neighbours anymore - maybe if they had just come over for a chat in the first place we could have talked about.”

A letter of objection from nearby resident, Carole Hicks, reads: “My main concern regards the privacy factor. As a pensioner I value my privacy and this has been taken away from me by the ‘tree house’, particularly the structure on the left-hand side which gives full view into upstairs and downstairs rooms (which includes bedrooms).

“Surely this is not acceptable. Trusting this privacy problem can be overcome in some way.”

A planning assessment by North East Derbyshire District Council reads: “From a neighbouring amenity viewpoint I do not consider the treehouse and raised decking to be any detriment in terms of overlooking and loss of privacy due to the existing mutual overlooking nature of the site.

“First-floor balconies at a number of the neighbours’ dwellings contribute to the overlooking and loss of privacy to the rear gardens and rear elevations of the applicant’s and neighbouring dwellings.”