United Kingdom

Jamie Durie under more fire over plans to turn waterfront cottage into six storey 'monstrosity'

Jamie Durie's dreams of knocking down a 1960s cottage and native trees to build a sprawling waterfront mansion for his family have been hit by a major setback.

The celebrity garden guru and former Backyard Blitz host has copped backlash over plans to transform his waterfront lot at Avalon Beach on Sydney's northern beaches by knocking down the original home to build a six storey $3million 'family home'.

Durie's development application included a proposal to remove 17 native trees, sparking a series of community objections to the local council.

The household name spent Monday in full damage control defending his plans in several television interviews, claiming an arborist's report missing from the submission to council sparked a misunderstanding.

But fallout from the saga continues to rage with Northern Beaches Council now revising his DA and recommending Durie amend the design of his proposed home to protect more trees.

Jamie Durie (pictured with fiancee Ameka) has been ordered to revise the design of his proposed new home

The council has reportedly issued a 'landscape referral response' ordering Durie submit an ­alternative layout and building design.

The council report recommends 13 of the 26 trees stay, including six which have 'moderate value'.

Five she oaks have 'low value' while three privet trees and a sweet pittosporum have been given the green light to be torn out.

The DA will be referred to the Local Planning Panel.

'Council considers issues raised in public submissions regarding development applications in the assessment of each matter and advice from specialist officers is sought as part of the assessment process,' council chief executive Ray Brownlee told Daily Mail Australia in a statement.

'This DA will be referred to the LPP for determination when the assessment of the application has been completed.

'At this stage we do not have a time frame in which it will go to the LPP.'

BEFORE: Jamie Durie hopes to knock down the original 1960s cottage (pictured) to build a six storey dream 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

Durie claims those who opposed the proposal haven't read a arborist's report which had been missing from the council submission, which stated the number of trees that would be removed had been reduced from 17 to nine.

The report was added to the online DA on the council's website on Monday, along with Durie's submission of the revised plans.

He has promised to revise the redevelopment plans but says some of the unhealthy trees on the property need 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 told the 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, ah, 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 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.

Northern Beaches Council has recommended the garden guru amend the proposal to keep some of the native trees earmarked for demolition

Durie proposes to knock down the ramshackle existing cottage on block he purchased for $2.3m five years ago

'We're going to end up like the eastern suburbs with mini RSLs and concrete everywhere,' resident Miranda Korzy told the program.

'I don't want to make an example of Jamie Durie … I think people are, because they come in, they don't know what the area was like before, they don't realise how much we're losing.'

Kylie Hebts, who lives across the road from Durie's property, said: '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.' 

Earlier on Monday, Durie 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.

Jamie Durie proposes to cut down nine native trees on his property (pictured on Monday)

Miranda Korzy is among dozens of local residents who have objected to the proposal

'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.

'We've rectified the issue and I have sent a letter to all the neighbours and the council explaining what happening and so hopefully they will see with our new plans,' Durie said.

'I hear them loud and clear and rest assured, we'll be putting plenty of plants into the ground.' 

BEFORE: This is the old cottage in Avalon Durie wants to demolish to build a sprawling $3million 'family home'...

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'.

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 has since  submitted a revised development application for the block, which he purchased for $2.3m five years ago, includes the removal of only nine trees.

'The amendments to the design reduce the footprint and preserve additional native trees.' 

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

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