A MAN who spent £100,000 on a luxury treehouse is “heartbroken” after the council ordered him to tear it down.
John Kitson built the one-bed cabin in private woodlands in Morval, Cornwall to create "the perfect hideaway".
But Mr Kitson now faces the prospect of demolishing the treehouse after becoming locked in a planning war with Cornwall Council.
He promoted his treetop getaway as a glamping destination online but when the council spotted the ad they claimed it was an unlawful safety hazard.
Mr Kitson told The Sun: "If they make me tear it down I’ll have to comply but it will break my heart."
If they make me tear it down I’ll have to comply but it will break my heart.
The cabin comes with a bathroom, mains electricity, running water and Wi-Fi.
Mr Kitson claims guests are in love with the space and have showered it with 5-star reviews.
The businessman claimed no one from the area has opposed the structure because of its secluded location.
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It is situated in the middle of woodland, with the nearest neighbour several hundred yards away.
Mr Kitson said: "I started out with a budget of £40,000 but it kept rising and ended up at over six figures.
"That’s partly because I wanted it to be perfect, as good as it possibly could be but also because I had to change things as I went along."
Mr Kitson claims neighbours would be "devastated" if the house was torn down because it has been crafted by local people using local materials.
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Mr Kitson, who is a Morval parish councillor, said there were "no planning rules for treehouses" and he didn’t think normal house-building regulations would apply.
He added: "I know I have put planners in a difficult position and I’m sorry about that.
"I just feel it’s not doing anyone any harm and people love it. It may be unlawful but it is not illegal.
"All of us just want a quiet life."
He explained the careful planning process included special environmental consideration.
I just feel it’s not doing anyone any harm and people love it.
Mr Kitson said: "I’ve thought long and hard about doing the least possible damage to the environment.
"For instance we’ve used supports which won’t damage existing tree roots.
"I care enormously about nature and the environment. We’re looking to plant 10,000 trees on this estate next year."
FACING THE AXE
The treehouse serves as an extra source of income for the Morval Estate owner as he doesn't want to raise rent for his current tenants amid the cost-of-living crisis.
He said: "Everyone is struggling, this is an alternative source of income for me, it creates local jobs, it doesn’t affect anyone and it promotes Cornwall tourism. We need all the promotion we can get."
A near-neighbour of Mr Kitson, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "I don’t know of anyone locally complaining about this.
"You can’t see it unless you’re in the woods. It isn’t bothering anyone."
However, local tourism bosses believe the structure is unsafe and should not be operating.
We can’t see any fire exits on this building yet it has a log burner. How safe is that?
Sue Jewel, chair of South East Cornwall Tourism Association, said: "My personal concern is the safety aspect, we can’t see any fire exits on this building yet it has a log burner. How safe is that?
"It can be as cutesy as you like. But it should still have to meet building regulations."
A spokeswoman for Cornwall Council told Sun Online: "The applicant has submitted a retrospective planning application to apply for permission so that it can be considered in the usual manner.
"The application is due to be determined by December 1st."
If planning permission is not granted, the Planning Authority will then determine what appropriate action is necessary, according to the council.
What are your rights?
Planning permission guidance according to gov.uk
You will need to request planning permission if you wish to build something new, make a major change to your building or change the use of your building – for example starting a business.
To find out if you need planning permission you should contact your Local Planning Authority through your council.
If planning permission is refused you can appeal.
You are able to appeal if you were refused planning permission for reasons that you think go against the LPA’s development plan or planning policy (you can usually find these on their website).
You can also appeal if you were granted planning permission with conditions you object to – you’ll need to explain why you think they’re unnecessary, unenforceable, vague, unreasonable or irrelevant.
Another ground for appeal is if the LPA has not given you a decision on your application and 8 weeks have passed since the date they told you they’d received it (or a different deadline you agreed with them has passed).
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