July 25, 2012

JK Rowling and the £150,000 Hogwarts playground

When the creator of Harry Potter decides to build an adventure playground for her children, you expect something magical.

But even by JK Rowling’s standards the 40ft high, two-storey tree houses planned for the back garden of her Edinburgh  mansion are something spectacular. 

The Hogwarts-style towers - estimated to cost around £150,000 - are so big that they need planning permission.

Each wooden tree house is to be built on stilts and boasts balconies, carvings and turrets that wouldn’t look out of place in a Potter adventure.

The towers are linked by a rope bridge and can be approached by a secret tunnel hidden underneath a raised wooden walkway.

Plans lodged with the City of Edinburgh Council reveal the houses are intended for Miss Rowling’s two youngest children David, nine, and his sister Mackenzie, seven. 

According to the drawings ‘David’s Tree House’ is closest to the secret tunnel and has a specially designed trap door and fireman’s pole escape into the garden

Meanwhile ‘Kenzie’s Tree House’ has its own spiral staircase and a stainless steel playground slide leading to a double set of swings.

A wooden walkway connected to the giant structure leads to a giant trampoline deck that is shielded from public view by a row of extra tall conifers.

The design by the luxury tree house makers Blue Forest UK features cedar shingle roofs and a built in ‘nature box’ for birds to nest in.

JK Rowling’s tree houses will only be built with timber from sustainably managed forests.

Blue Forest, based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, describes itself as the UK's leading tree house architects.

It specialises in creating ‘fantasy castles’ like those for JK Rowling’s children or ‘James Bond-style hideaways’ with luxuries such as under floor heating, wood burning stoves and plasma screen televisions.

Prices start at £20,000 for its most basic models, but the firm admits the ‘sky is the limit’ for the final bill when it creates bespoke tree houses for the super-rich.

The firm’s managing director Andy Payne said: ‘Tree houses have always been a symbol of imagination and creativity.’ 

Tree houses are generally considered temporary structures and therefore do not need planning permission.

However this only applies if they are less than 13 feet high from roof to base.