A CARLISLE couple were shocked to find they needed planning permission after putting up a treehouse for their two sons.

Dad Nicky Falder, 33, built the den for Max, 9, and Toby, 7, earlier this year.

But their enjoyment was almost cut short when a letter from Carlisle City Council landed on the doorstep, demanding they apply for retrospective planning permission - because of a recent rule change.

Mum Bev, 32, said: "We were really shocked when we got a letter from the council, we had looked into whether we needed it.

"We thought we had covered all the basics, it wasn't too high.

"The boys are aged 7 and 9 and the fact they can get into it and do things means it's a nice little break for them, especially during lockdown - they are very happy to have sleepovers in there.

"I think we put it up at the beginning of lockdown, originally there was a tree there and we thought about taking it down but then thought the kids could benefit from a playhouse at the top of it.

"They can also get into it through a little hatch at the bottom, it's a proper little hideaway.

"To the top I think it is just under 4 metres, I think inside it is about 2m sq."

Toby said: "It's great, you can do colouring up there and there is a secret hatch."

Max said his favourite activity in the treehouse was drawing on the whiteboard.

Planning approval was given with the help of a neighbour who told the council: "The treehouse is well constructed, tasteful and sympathetic to the area and they have been very considerate.

"Please do not refuse permission for this beautiful structure and spoil the enjoyment of this lovely young family."