Fun’s over as play area built in the front garden of March house is ordered to be removed by Fenland District Council

The children’s play structure that has been built in the front garden of a house in March

The children’s play structure that has been built in the front garden of a house in March - Credit: Archant

A children’s play structure that has been built in the front garden of a house in March with swings, sandpit, climbing frame – and even a zip wire – has been ordered to be taken down by council planners.

The 2.6m high structure, which is made out of red and yellow wood, was erected outside the house in New Park last year, but Fenland District Council was quick to issue an enforcement notice in September.

Nikolas and Katherine Wilson lodged an appeal against it saying the structure was “not permanent, or attached to the house and does not exceed 2.6m in height”.

But the appeal has been thrown out by inspector Thomas Shields this week, who says it breaches planning control.

Whether the play structure was a useful facility for children was not relevant to the decision, he said.


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The decision reads: “Given that the play structure is forward of the front wall of the house, and is above 2.5m in height and also within a 2m distance of the front it thereby fails to meet the limitations.

“Even if reduced in height it could never comply. It cannot therefore be permitted development.”

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The play structure takes up most of the front garden but is not concreted to the ground.

However, it is of “considerable size and weight”.

Mr Shields continues: “At my visit to the appeal site I saw that the play structure’s overall dimensions are approximately 2.6m maximum height, 3m wide, and 4m in depth. It occupies most of the front garden to the house.

“It consists of two main front and back sections linked by an above ground rope bridge/walkway.

“It also comprises other elements including swings, a slide, a sandpit section, climbing wall, zip wire, and level platform areas.

“Moreover, although not concreted or otherwise fixed into the ground, it is a structure of some considerable size and weight which to my mind indicates a characteristic of permanence rather than being temporary.

“To conclude, the play structure is a building and comprises development as defined by the act, for which planning permission is required.”

The decision was made on Wednesday June 27.

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