Children’s play fort in planning permission row

June 22, 2010 | by

A couple have gone into battle against their local council after being told to obtain planning permission – for a children’s play fort in their garden.

Dr Janet Barnes, 43, David Godwin, 33, spent £1,200 on the 10ft wooden structure as a Christmas present for sons Christopher, eight, and Jonathan,

But neighbours have complained that it breaches their privacy because the children can see into their gardens from the top deck.

David and Janet, of Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts., have now been forced to submit a retrospective planning application to Wiltshire Council.

Software engineer Dr Barnes said: ”We got it because we don’t have any trees in the garden, so we can’t put up a treehouse.

”It was a lot of work to put up at Christmas.  If we had realised it needed planning permission we wouldn’t have bought it.

”We took pictures around to show our neighbours and they said it was fine. Then one side changed their mind when it was put up.

”Our other neighbours think the fort is brilliant – they asked when they can move in.

”If we have to take it down I don’t know how I will break it to the kids, they love it.”

David and Janet’s neighbours Andy Neal and Emma Cypher-Neal wrote to Wiltshire Council after the wooden fort was erected in January this year.

Their letter reads: ”We feel strongly that the fort is far too tall and too close to the boundary fence.

”The fort is an imposing structure and allows views into our property and over the whole of our garden.

”We therefore object on the grounds that it imposes on our privacy and therefore needs to be moved or reduced significantly in height.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesman confirmed that large garden structures, even play forts, can require planning permission.

He said: ”Large structures in a garden, if near to neighbours’ property or overlooking other gardens, will typically require planning permission.”

But David, who works as a bell-hanger and part-time teaching student, said: ”We thought it is a temporary structure, it can’t possibly need planning

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