Jamie Durie will finally be able to build his $2.7million dream home after a three-year renovation saga that saw the plans receive more than 50 objections from angry locals.
The celebrity garden guru was last week granted approval by the council over his development application (DA) for the waterfront home in Avalon in Sydney‘s Northern Beaches.
His plans to knock down a 1960s cottage and replace it with a sprawling six-storey mansion for his family had already met opposition from neighbours who objected to the removal of 17 native trees.
There was then an issue with whether the home’s construction would impact the ecosystem of a local microbat colony.
Jamie Durie (pictured with wife Ameka Jane) will finally be able to build his $2.7million dream home after a three-year renovation saga that saw the plans receive more than 50 objections
The former Backyard Blitz host said in his 25 years of working in the industry, trying to get his renovation plans over the line was the biggest challenge he’d faced.
‘I can tell you right now, if you want to lodge a DA in Avalon it will be the most harrowing thing you have done in your life,’ Durie told The Daily Telegraph.
‘I have spoken to close to 20 to 30 people in the last six months who have decided to not lodge their DA because of the circus this has created.’
Construction on the home is set to start immediately.
Community members were also unhappy with Durie’s plans on the grounds the dwelling would be out of character for the area.
The celebrity garden guru was last week granted approval by the council over his development application (pictured) for the waterfront home in Avalon in Sydney’s Northern Beaches
The six-storey home faced objection over the removal of trees from local community members. Pictured: Plans for Durie’s mansion
In October the Northern Beaches Council questioned a report by an ecologist employed by Durie that stated caves near the proposed development where micro-bats could roost will be not be impacted.
The ecologist’s environmental assessment report claimed colonies of large-eared pie bats and the little bentwing bats are located 1.3km east of Durie’s Riverview Road waterfront property at Careel Bay.
It also claimed the caves are ‘degraded to the point that the species is unlikely to use’ them.
The council described the report as ‘inaccurate’ and insisted the bat habitat be retained.
‘I have never seen them there but they are welcome,’ Durie had said of the micro-bats, claiming his development would not impact the species.
Durie’s development application included a proposal to remove 17 native trees, sparking a series of community objections to the local council.
The former Backyard Blitz host said in his 25 years of working in the industry, trying to get his renovation plans over the line was the biggest challenge he’d faced
In a report from the council in February, revised plans showed that only 11 trees would be removed, eight of which were in poor health and the remaining three didn’t need council approval to be cut down.
Durie had earlier defended his plans in several television interviews, claiming an arborist’s report missing from the submission to council sparked a misunderstanding from angry locals.
He said some of the unhealthy trees on the property had to be knocked down due to termite infestation.
‘There’s been a group of new environmentalists standing in front of the house and protecting noxious weeds,’ Durie earlier told A Current Affair.
‘I was mortified when I read some of the submissions.
‘I think if some of the new environmentalists that were standing out on the street knew that they were actually standing here preventing environmental weeds from being taken down that had now turned into trees, they’d be a little embarrassed.’
The former Manpower stripper, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, said he wants the community to be just as proud of the redeveloped home as he will be.
The former Manpower stripper, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, said he wants the community to be just as proud of the redeveloped home as he will be
Durie’s six storey proposal consists of four bedrooms – scaled back from six, a swimming pool, two-car garage, music studio and media room, a lift down to the kids’ play area and yoga gym.
One resident, Kylie Hebts, who lives across the road from Durie’s property, told the program: ‘It’s a little bit of LA and Double Bay combined to be honest.
‘The thought of so many trees coming out, it really feels like we should be planning for a funeral.’
Durie had described the saga as a ‘unfortunate chain of events’ and has sent letters to neighbours to clarify the situation
‘People have assumed that I’m pulling out a lot of native trees when, actually, some of these are weeds,’ he told Today Extra.
‘They’re actually noxious weeds, they’re privet, some of them are affected with termites, some of them have bora, some of them have die-back.
‘When you read the tree report, you’ll understand that some of these trees have actually been marked for removal without our home being built.’
He added 1518 native and endemic species have been planted on and around the property.
Durie’s plans involve knocking down a 1960s cottage and turning it into a six-storey family mansion
Plants and vegetation will also be planted on the rooftops and 60 solar panels will be utilised.
‘We’ve rectified the issue and I have sent a letter to all the neighbours and the council explaining what’s happening and so hopefully they will see with our new plans,’ Durie said previously.
‘I hear them loud and clear and rest assured, we’ll be putting plenty of plants into the ground.’
Neighbour John Sheehan, a former acting judge of the Land and Environment Court, had described the proposal as ‘fatally flawed’ and was concerned it would have ‘serious and irreversible impacts on biodiversity values’.
Another neighbour said the proposed dwelling was out of character with the adjoining dwellings which respect the topography and the vegetation of their sites.
‘It is a gross overdevelopment in this location given the character of the area and the adjoining properties,’ their submission stated.
‘It must be redesigned by an architect to reduce its site coverage, to retain all the significant trees, to pull back from the waterfront in order to stay well within the foreshore building line, and to reduce its excessive size.’
Neighbours of Durie’s new home were concerned the house wouldn’t fit in with other dwellings in the area
Another expressed grave concerns the development will set an alarming precedent for future development in the area if approved.
Local heritage and preservation bodies also objected to the development with concerns that it’s out of character for the area, will threaten wildlife and ‘would overwhelm its environmentally sensitive block’.
Pittwater Natural Heritage Association said the proposal would have a detrimental effect on the movement of wildlife in the vicinity and doesn’t reflect the ecological and aesthetic values of the area.
‘Council should take into consideration the cumulative effect that developments such as this would have on the canopy trees which are critical to the character of the Avalon area,’ their submission states.
‘If this and other such developments are allowed to continue then, over time, the tree canopy which gives Avalon its character will disappear.’
The Avalon Preservation Association added: ‘The current trend of proposing very large dwellings on environmentally sensitive blocks and consequently destroying much of the native vegetation on the block while a small effect taken individually, constitutes ‘death by a thousand cuts’ when taken as the new norm.’
Durie bought the block five years ago for $2.3million.