Chorley treehouse dispute is heading to the Secretary of State
A children's treehouse is facing the chop more than a year after it was built at the beginning of the first lockdown last year.
Chorley Council has ruled that the structure - in the back garden of the Dalytse family - is breaking privacy regulations.
However, the issue is heading to the Secretary of State after dad-of-two Geoffrey Dalytse, who built the treehouse, vowed to appeal against the decision.
Mr Dalytse, 44, who lives in a three-storey townhouse with his wife Kelly, 43, a cabin crew manager, and their children Jessica, 15 and Joshua, 10, said the treehouse was an important piece of play equipment for his son and daughter as it got them outside in the garden during lockdown.
"It was built at the beginning of the first lockdown for the kids," said Mr Dalytse.
"It served a purpose for them to engage in play outside after being isolated at home."
Mr Dalytse, who has lived at the house for around two years, received support for the wooden construction - built several feet off the ground on a platform around a tree - from neighbours.
But when the tree, which was not under a tree preservation order, was cutback last year there was a complaint to the council that the treehouse was too intrusive.
And after putting in a retrospective planning application in February, the council refused permission for the development last month.
Planning bosses stated: "The play area platform results in increased views and overlooking of the neighbouring properties and gardens along Duxbury Gardens impacting detrimentally on the privacy and levels of residential amenity that the residents currently enjoy. The development is, therefore, contrary to policy HS5 of the Chorley Local Plan 2012-2026 and the Council's Householder Design Guidance Supplementary Planning Document."
"It was only when the tree got slightly pruned at the side we can see the treehouse," said Mr Dalytse.
He said living in a three-storey property meant neighbouring homes were overlooked in any case and that it was only children, of course, using the treehouse.
He added: "I've looked over the last several years at plans for treehouses and not one has been denied. No one has been refused even those that have had objections."
He said his children would be upset if the structure was demolished.
"Absolutely gutted if it's got to go - all their friends will be gutted.
"It's there to make childhood memories and help children with mental health during lockdown."
Mr Dalytse said he would appeal: "I've complained to the council saying it's unfair and unjust.
"I've got twelve weeks to appeal to the Secretary of State."
Jonathan Noad, Director of Planning and Development at Chorley Council, said: “The application was refused because it was determined that the raised platform of the play area has a detrimental impact on the privacy and levels of residential amenity currently enjoyed by neighbouring residents.
“It is important to obtain the relevant planning permission before undertaking work. Where an application is refused, each applicant has recourse through the appeal process.”