Neighbours invoke Human Rights Act to have four-year-old's treehouse torn down

People are questioning why Kensington and Chelsea Council has become embroiled in a dispute over a treehouse

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The Independent Online

A film director has been told she must “scale down” or “demolish” a treehouse in her garden after neighbours invoked the Human Rights Act to have it removed.

Jasmine Dellal, 48, the aunt of Agent Provocateur model Alice Dellal, recently had the 14-foot structure built in the back garden of her £5 million Notting Hill home for her four-year-old son.

But she received a backlash from neighbours, who launched a campaign to have it removed, claiming the tree house would impact their “right to the quiet enjoyment of [their] property” – saying it was a breach of human rights.

In response to the complaints, the council gave Ms Dellal an enforcement notice ordering her to scale down the structure or demolish it.

Ms Dellal's supporters have questioned why Kensington and Chelsea’s planning officers have become embroiled in a dispute over a treehouse when the borough is plagued by developments and basement excavations.

In a letter to Kensington and Chelsea Council seen by the Evening Standard, campaigning neighbour Heleen Lindsay-Fynn wrote: “We believe that the proposed development would have a dominating impact on us and our right to the quiet enjoyment of our property. 

“Article 8 of the Human Rights Act states that a person has the substantive right to respect for their private and family life.”

But Human Rights lawyers appointed by Ms Dellal have countered the claims.

One of them, Professor Robin Choudhury, said: “To invoke Article 8 of the Humans Rights Act 1998 objecting to a child’s play structure is wholly disproportionate.”

Giles Peaker, a solicitor in the Housing and Public Law, also refuted claims that it was a Human Rights issue. "It looks like a straightforward breach of planning permission requirements - nothing to do with Human Rights Act," he said.

"Whatever the neighbour might have said, the Human Rights Act simply wouldn't apply to an issue between two private parties."