Parents Ordered To Tear Down Children's £2,500 Garden Playhouse

14/08/2014 16:56 | Updated 22 May 2015

Parents ordered to tear down children's £2,500 garden playhouse

A couple are being taken to court after refusing to tear down a giant £2,500 playhouse they built in their back garden for their young daughters.

Jeffrey Morris, 40, and his wife Louise Cook, 45, built the 12ft wooden playhouse in the grounds of their home in the Northamptonshire village of Horton.

But in what seems to be a never-ending saga, neighbours complained their properties were overlooked, so the couple dismantled it and put it back up without a wooden platform, but they were told they were still in breach of planning law and had to take it down.

South Northamptonshire Council complained the structure, which is 11ft high, 19ft wide and 9ft deep, caused 'significant harm to the character and appearance of the area' and ordered it to be removed.

The couple complied and rebuilt the house without its wooden platform but were told it still breached planning law and given an enforcement notice ordering them to remove the playhouse, which consists of a swing set, slide and tree house.

When the couple refused to comply, they were ordered to Northampton Magistrates' Court, where they denied breaching an enforcement notice.

Property developer Mr Morris, who has lived in the £800,000 detached stone house since 2005 with his wife and their three children, Charlie, 20, Amelia, 12, and Poppy, nine, told the Mail: "We were assured by the company (that they bought it from) that the playhouse did not require planning permission and it was up for 11 months before someone complained to the council.

"The platform was the floor of the little treehouse bit of the structure so to show good faith we took the floor out but now the council claim the ledge near the slide constitutes a platform. "In my view the council are desperate for a scalp and because we are property developers they have come after us and are using bully tactics to make us tear it down.

"At the court hearing the council officers told me they would pursue the maximum £20,000 fine plus court costs.

"I refuse to take this lying down and I will not be bullied so I am putting my money where my mouth is and will fight them because I know I am in the right."

A trial will take place in March next year at Wellingborough Magistrates' Court.

South Northamptonshire Council has not commented.

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