The designer of a home custom-built for his son with autism had spoken out after Nedlands city council voted not to allow it to function as an exhibition home before the family moved in.
Andrew James and his wife ran the local boutique building company Prestige Home and built the house on Philip Road in Dalkeith.
The house is designed with an open plan that allows them to see their six-year-old son Jackson, who has high-functioning autism.
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Despite his delegation and the pleas of a Dalkeith district councilor, the council voted against using the house as an exhibition house for two months at its most recent meeting.
Speaking to another display home application in Dalkieth last month, Mayor Fiona Argyle said Dalkeith is “or has been one of the most prestigious areas in Australia” and that she did not want to “create the Truman Show for Dalkeith”.
Dalkeith Councilor Noel Youngman spoke out in favor of the family’s application and explained their story to his fellow councilors. Still, a majority of the council, including the other two representatives of the Dalkeith ward, Andrew Mangano and Fergus Bennett, were against the application and two other showings houses in Dalkeith.
Mr. James told PerthNow that the family, who currently rent in South Perth, were eager to move in, but the opportunity to work as an exhibition home was “too good” not to pursue.
“As a small family business, we don’t have excess resources to build stand-alone display homes,” he said.
“The opportunity for our company to sell our product was too good to pass up. But now it looks like we won’t get that chance.
“We did the landscaping to ensure room for a trampoline, pool, and play equipment, which are important for fine motor skills.”
Camera icon Six-year-old Jackson James. Credit: Included
Other features include a whole house water filter, courtyard, louvers for extra ventilation, a fully fenced backyard, and a granny flat in case Jackson still needs support as an adult but can have his own space.
Mr. James said the family had moved ten times in 10 years to get into their dream home and wanted to settle locally to get Jackson to the Peter Moyes Center at Christ Church Grammar School.
“It’s really hard to get into, and we’ve finally got confirmation that he’s going there in 2024,” he said.
The father said it was “disappointing” and “stunned” that their application to operate briefly as a demonstration home was rejected.
“The previous mayor came to meet my family and me on her day off to hear our case, and I thought that spoke very well of her character,” he saidSome neighborswho wanted to provide flowers and shortbread for the opening.
“While it was designed for someone with special needs, it would benefit families if they intended to see the open space.
“We worked with the planners to shorten the time. We have gone through the correct process and have been shut down.”
Mr. James said they had collected 20 signatures from neighbors who supported the application.