Land-Use Planning @ Hogwarts

August 31st, 2012

What happens when JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, seeks special permission to build a 250,000 pound Hogwarts-style tree house? Like magic, it’s granted.

The author JK Rowling has won permission to build two Hogwarts-style tree houses in the garden of her home, despite complaints from neighbours.

Rowling, 46, plans to build the two-storey structures for her children David, nine, and Kenzie, seven, in the grounds of her17th century mansion in an Edinburgh suburb, at an estimated cost of £250,000.

The author of the Harry Potter series was given permission by City of Edinburgh council despite objections from several neighbours who are already upset by other renovations and building work around her home.

Drawings submitted to the council’s planners show the tree-houses will be erected on tall stilts beside mature conifers in the garden. They will have tall cedar shingle conical roofs and be connected by long partly-elevated walkways and a rope bridge.

The buildings will feature turreted windows, pennants, a basket and pulley, and an owl perch. David’s playhouse will include a long tunnel under a walkway and a fireman’s pole; his sister’s boasts a trapdoor, rope ladder, a metal slide and spiral staircase down to the garden.

How could anyone object to such an awesome treehouse for her kids? Well, land-use boards in Edinburgh seem to share something common with land-use boards here. Neighbors like to complain.

Members of Cramond and Barnton community council had urged the council to reject the proposals because they believed a gap in a line of trees in her garden meant the tree houses would be visible to passers-by.

Dr Patricia Eason, the community council’s secretary, said: “Our concern is without this high and substantial screening belt of conifers, the entrance to the conservation area would be marked by this massive and very high tree house development and this would be quite out of character with the area and unacceptable.”

Tom Borthwick, a neighbour of Rowling, said he did not object in principle to large structures being built in people’s gardens but this case was different. “I do object if such buildings have a visual impact on the surrounding area and properties and conflict with existing planning policies, particularly in a conservation area,” he told planners.

Ultimately, the boad approved the measure:

With reference to your application for Planning Permission registered on 12 July 2012, this has been decided by Local Delegated Decision. The Council in exercise of its powers under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Acts and regulations, now determines the application as Granted in accordance with the particulars given in the application.

Any condition(s) attached to this consent, with reasons for imposing them, or reasons for refusal, are shown below;

I wonder if eminent domain was used to build Hogwarts Castle…