Dad Pressured to Take Down the Treehouse That Was a “Secure Place” for His Autistic Daughter
A British family has shaken after their neighborhood council called for the demolition of their self-made tree house, which last year served as a “safe place” for their daughter with autism, Tourette’s syndrome and sensory processing disorder.
Richard Williams started work on the project last year and says he “put a lot into it” to give his 11-year-old daughter a place where she can escape the world, get some fresh air, and be herself.
Photo: Adobe Stock / AntonioDiaz
However, not everyone in the neighborhood agreed that the tree house was a good idea. After one of Richard’s neighbors received a complaint, the Harrogate Borough Council investigated the problem and found the family had to demolish the entire building again.
“It’s completely wrong that we have to take it down, especially if it was a safe place for my daughter,” says Richard. “Everything was fine until I got an email from my landlord’s agent mentioning a complaint from a neighbor that the tree house was an invasion of their privacy. A few days later the council visited our house and told me I had to dismantle it as it was against the regulations. “
Photo: Adobe Stock / solipa
Richard says he doesn’t know of any rule that says he can’t build a tree house in his yard, especially since it isn’t considered a permanent structure.
“I spent hours and a lot of money building it […] from £ 500, ”says Richard. “I work full time on the front lines and invest my free time and money building this for my daughter and other children. It’s disgusting that I had to tear it up now. “
The Harrogate Borough Council has claimed to have sympathized with the family’s plight. However, their hands are tied due to the strict planning rules for the area.
Photo: Adobe Stock / Travis
“Every circumstance is different and we always recommend residents to contact us before they start planning and building so that we can let them know what is allowed and what is not,” said a spokesman.
“We love a tree house like everyone else, but in this case the tree house is unfortunately against planning regulations because it is attached to the ground and exceeds the height restrictions. Although these are temporary structures, building permits may sometimes be required. We know this is disappointing to Mr. Williams and his daughter. “
Photo: Adobe Stock / Maria
However, Richard says the situation is not fair to his daughter, who is already struggling enough to deal with her terms.
“I told everyone that the tree house was for my daughter and that my children were not interested in looking into other people’s gardens,” he says. “If it all gets too much, this would have been a place she could go to get out of the way, get some fresh air and peace. But this fact doesn’t seem to bother anyone. “
We hope that Tiana’s family can find another solution that will help her have some time to herself while complying with local regulations. We all deserve a place where we can get away and be ourselves!