Construction worker Mat Waybourne, 42, spent every spare evening and weekend for months building the two-storey ‘shed on stilts’ for daughter Lilly.
He forked out £800 on the 15ft tall wooden house – which has a balcony, windows and two ladders – because he wanted somewhere safe for her to play during visits.
But he was devastated when a council officer told him he had to tear it down because he hadn’t applied for planning permission for the impressive structure.
Now he has recieved an enforcement notice from Herefordshire Council’s legal team and faces breaking up the little girl’s play home – or paying £344 to appeal.
Single Mat, from Tupsley, Herefordshire – who shares custody of Lilly and her brother Joseph, 12 – is begging for council officers to change their mind.
He said: “I’ve done it properly. It’s fully clad and has little perspex windows and you go up a little ladder and then there is a balustrade, and then another little ladder up to the tree house.
“When I showed it to her she was chuffed to bits. She’s always up there, with her little friends.
“It’s just something special for her to have when she comes here, and as soon as she comes around she’s straight up there.
“It was about two months ago the council first contacted me. They said they weren’t happy with it.
“But that’s a bit extreme – it’s just a kid’s tree house.
“It’s a waste of the council’s time. Haven’t they got anything better to do that threaten children’s tree houses?”
It took Mat around two months and 30 hours to build the wooden-clad house which is around 15 ft tall, and sits between his shed and a trampoline.
It features two storeys, with a balcony level under the main ‘house’, which has a desk and chairs inside and working windows – some of which overlook neighbours.
The ‘tree house’ sits at the end of the garden belongings to Mat’s semi-detached home in a quite cul de sac, and was completed around seven months ago.
He said he build it because his daughter “always wanted a tree house” and he wanted to make her dreams come true “before she gets too told”.
“I don’t think it is safe to let me children out to play in the streets,” he added.
“I did a very tidy job of it. It isn’t some bodge job. The kids were just chuffed with it.”
He received a call from the council complaining about the structure in February, and an enforcement notice from the authority’s senior litigator on April 5.
The letter said he had to comply with their demands he tear it down before May 17, or lodge an appeal – which would cost £344.
Mat, who has his kids to visit every week, and every other weekend, said he is planning on lodging an appeal.
“It might be easier to just chain myself to the tree house,” he joked.
“I asked if it was because the neighbours had complained, but they wouldn’t tell me.
“I asked if it would help if I blacked out the windows on the side which looks towards the neighbours, but they didn’t get back to me and came back with an enforcement notice.
“They said it was because of the height restriction.
“They said I was supposed to submit a planning application before I put it up, and now I have to take it down.
“I’ve told my daughter and she’s not very happy about it.
“She was really upset. She doesn’t really understand why.”