Tree house has grown well

IAN CLARKE It's a unique “green” creation built by innovative ex-university mates who wanted to enjoy the great outdoors rather than getting into drugs or addicted to computer games.

IAN CLARKE

It's a unique “green” creation built by innovative ex-university mates who wanted to enjoy the great outdoors rather than getting into drugs or addicted to computer games.

The 21ft high tree house has left the vast majority of young - and not so young - visitors open-mouthed in awe when they first see it.

And amazingly the total cost of the project has been less than a quarter of the planning application fee.


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But while there has been huge backing for the structure erected in a rural setting at Brandon Parva - between Dereham and Wymondham - the creation has also met with opposition which could threaten its future.

Youth worker Adam Jackson, 22, has been at the heart of the tree house project, which has been built at the bottom of his mother's garden.

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“It is a unique and exciting creation,” is his simple view on the structure, which has been created over the past three years with wood and glass from skips or given by builders.

“This is a testimony to what young people can do when they have something productive to put their hands to rather than causing trouble. This tree house means a lot to many people my age and has really given us a focus and a project for our energies - energy that might be wasted elsewhere.”

Adam has had to pay a £135 planning application fee to South Norfolk District Council - which compares with the total bill of about £30 to build the tree house.

A consultation period is now underway and then councillors will have to decide whether to give planning permission - or order the tree house to be taken down.

Adam insists it does not impact on anyone else - and the only house which can be seen from the tree house is about 300 yards away and currently unoccupied.

He also said there were many other “eyesores” on the landscape including electricity pylons, phone masts and a turkey farm.

“It brings benefit and excitement to many people of many different ages, while still being a private structure on private land.

“It does not intrude on anyone's privacy and does not cause any harm to the local environment.”

But Runhall Parish Council has recommended refusal and in its response to South Norfolk District Council said it “will be visible when leaves are off the trees and there is concern about its use, size and health and safety.”

Matt Thomas, who lives at Orchard Lane, Flood Lane, has written a letter of objection and said: “It looks into my property and invades our privacy when the trees lose their leaves.”

The consultation period on the application continues until September 19.

Councillor Derek Blake, cabinet member responsible for planning, said: "While we applaud the enterprise and initiative of these young people and their determination to make this tree house environmentally friendly, they have done the right thing in making a retrospective application for planning approval. The matter will now follow normal planning process."

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