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41 Etham Avenue Darling Point DA refused by council going to Land and Environment Court

The Darling Point Society strongly objects to a Development Application (DA408/2021) for 41 Etham Avenue, Darling Point as its current proposed form will negatively impact on the integrity and ambience of the Heritage Listed house, which includes the demolition of its original rear wing. It will as well seriously overwhelm and adversely impact the amenity & historical significance of neighbouring heritage-listed houses at Nos 39 and 37 Etham Avenue - all within the Woollahra Municipal Council's designated Heritage Conservation Area of Etham Avenue.


Eminent heritage consultant, Clive Lucas, has described this rare group of three houses, built in 1902, as "quintessential examples of Sydney Edwardian Federation Queen Anne Style". And they are too historically significant, as evidence of the earliest sub-division of this part of Darling Point. No 41 has three important historical streetscape views and all houses, that include their curtilages, have original & intact wrought iron and brick fencing.



Several aspects of the proposed renovations do not comply with Council's DCP (Development Control Plan) and the deep excavation for a proposed swimming pool and its slab footing poses significant ongoing health risks to the roots of an estimated 150 year old heritage-listed Camphor Laurel tree located within the garden of 39 Etham. This tree is a prominent landscape feature of high aesthetic value and being 25 metres high with a canopy of 20 metres, it also provides significant amounts of privacy to 4 houses and 2 tall apartment buildings. An aboricultural report states that the pool excavation is within both this tree's Structural Root Zoom and the Tree Protection Zone, damage to which would create a hazardous issue.


Council received 22 objections to this DA; this being more than 10, thus causing it to be assessed by the WLPP (Woollahra Local Planning Panel) at which objectors and applicants can address a specialist panel comprising an architect, council officers and a representative of the community. It is also open to the public.


The DA was refused at this WLPP meeting held on 21st April 2022. The proceedings were recorded and are available on Council's website for six months.


The applicant is now appealing to the L&EC (Land and Environment Court) against this refusal.


Council and their lawyers will be defending their decision at this Court on 11th August 2022.


The Darling Point Society maintains that it is possible to make changes to a Heritage Listed Property - but they must be sympathetic to the original fabric and be proportional. No 39 has made an addition and a renovation at ground level for the purpose of allowing light into the main living areas that face entirely south. Other original relic was reinstated. It's original built form has remained intact as has its curtildge. It's garden was significantly enhanced by eminent surrealist landscape architect, Vladmir Sitta, who also designed the garden of the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Doug Watson, an acclaimed war artist and twice winner of the Wynne Prize in the Archibald was a former owner-resident of No. 39. The Etham Avenue Heritage Conservation Area is riddled with historic references to other prominent Sydney personalities who've lived in Etham Avenue.




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