Celebrity gardener and National Tree Day ambassador Jamie Durie is under fire from his neighbours over plans to remove native trees to build a sprawling waterfront mansion for his family.
Mr Durie hopes to transform his waterfront lot at Avalon Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches by knocking down the original 1960s four-bedroom cottage to build a six storey $3m ‘family home’.
The development application submitted to Northern Beaches Council included a proposal to remove 17 native trees, sparking community outrage.
The council received more than 30 objections to the proposal, with residents expressing concerns the development will set a precedent that would gradually see most native trees in the area chopped down.
Jamie Durie (pictured with fiancee Ameka) has revised plans to remove native trees on his waterfront property followed by public backlash
Neighbour John Sheehan, a former acting judge of the Land and Environment Court, described the proposal as ‘fatally flawed’ and is 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.’
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’.
BEFORE: This is the old cottage in Avalon Durie wants to demolish to build a sprawling $3million ‘family home’…
…AFTER: Jamie Durie’s plans to redevelop his the beach property into this multi-level, sprawling facility attracted more than 30 objections from the community
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.’
Locals say the proposal submitted by Jamie Durie (pictured with fiancee Ameka) is flawed and out of character for the area
Durie told the Daily Telegraph there has been a ‘gross misunderstanding’, claiming his planner had not included the arborist’s report in the submission to council, and the number of trees that would be removed had been reduced by half.
The revised development application for the block, which he purchased for $2.3m five years ago, includes the removal of only nine trees.
‘After strong consideration of your comments we have decided to amend our current DA as we are flexible in our approach,’ the horticulturalist wrote.
‘The amendments to the design reduce the footprint and preserve additional native trees.’
He added 1518 native and endemic species have been planted on and around the property.
Durie and fiancée Ameka Foster welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Beau in July.
He has another daughter Taylor, 26, from a previous relationship.
Celebrity gardener and National Tree Day ambassador Jamie Durie (pictured) has revised tree removal plans in the development application