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With the opportunity for our imaginations to take over, the idea of creating a treehouse is an exciting one. For many of us, building a treehouse was one of our childhood dreams and something we would love to create for the enjoyment of our children.

Unfortunately, like most things in life, there are a few hurdles you may have to jump over to make your dream into a reality; and when it comes to treehouses, the biggest one is planning permission.

Here at Martin Perry, we have much experience in planning applications in Cornwall and Plymouth, so have applied our expertise to advise you on preparing for a treehouse in this article.

Applying for Planning Permission

With many changes over recent years to what type of constructions falls under planning permission, treehouses may be an unexpected one. However, yes, a treehouse will need planning permission for its construction according to government guidelines.

Even though treehouses aren’t regarded as a permanent structure, it is advised that building anything new may require planning permission, including all treehouses.

If your home is a listed building, it will most likely need listed building consent. For more information about listed buildings, take a look at our listed building FAQs.

A tree house

Problems without Planning Permission

Some may want to take the risk and build a treehouse without planning permission. However, this can lead to disappointment as an ‘enforcement notice’ may be issued, which will instruct you to remove the structure you invested so much time and money in creating.

Issues of Privacy

The main reason why treehouses may need planning permission is due to issues regarding privacy. Depending on your property, the treehouse may overlook the property of surrounding neighbours which can be viewed as invasive; especially if you can see into your neighbour’s house from the treehouse.

An oak tree

Deciding Where to Build

Building a treehouse cannot happen without a mature tree as its stable and reliable foundation. Trees which are renowned for their strength include oak, elm and mature ash trees. You need to ensure that the chosen tree is both healthy enough and robust for the weight of a treehouse.

The Design

The best thing about treehouses is that you can design them or purchase ready-made. It all depends on your budget and the purpose of the treehouse. For example, some people really go to town and create treehouses which are fully kitted out with utilities such as running water and electricity.

When building a treehouse with children in mind, some people like to recycle materials sourced from the garden or offcuts from other projects.

Ensure the Tree can Cope with the Weight

This is a seemingly obvious point, but knowing that the tree can hold the weight of the construction and any additional people who will be in it is vital and needs to be ensured before building.

Begin with a Platform

To start your treehouse, you need to ensure it has sturdy foundations while preventing as much damage as possible to the tree. This can be achieved by implementing a strong platform to build from. For maximum strength, the corners of the treehouse’s base should sit in branches at its corners.

Using Stilts

Stilts can be applied from the foundation of the treehouse and reach the ground and are useful for relieving the tree of any extra strain or stress. Not only is this beneficial for health and safety reasons by offering additional support, but it also acts in the best interests of the tree.

A hammer on some wood

Try to Avoid Piercing the Tree

Stilts also decrease the need for piercing the tree with nails, bolts or screws. For certain types of tree, piercing it can cause the tree to die if not properly planned in advance.

Specific treehouse bolts can be purchased as an alternative to using bolts and screws which may harm the tree. Additionally, tension and friction fasteners can also achieve a similar job by attaching any beams of the treehouse to the tree trunk.

Hopefully, we have supplied you with some useful tips if you are considering the construction of a treehouse. How would you like your treehouse to look? Why not let us know on our social media channels? We would love to know!