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Defiant Sydney family refuse to sell $50m property to developers at The Ponds

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A defiant Sydney family’s property sticks out like a sore thumb as the owners stay put despite a housing development taking over the area.

On a huge block of land surrounded by a housing development lives a defiant Sydney family who refused to give up their beloved property.

The two-hectare stretch of land at The Ponds sticks out like a sore thumb after rows of hundreds of houses sitting side-by-side sprang up around the block in recent years.

A local real estate agent has praised the Zammit family for staying put, despite the big cheques they have likely been offered.

“The fact that most people sold out years and years ago, these guys have held on. All credit to them,” Ray White Quakers Hill agent Taylor Bredin told 7News, adding that up to 50 houses could probably be built on the land.

“Depending on how far you push the development plan, you’d be able to push anywhere from 40 to 50 properties on something like this, and when subdivided, a 300 square metre block would get a million dollars.”

A lush lawn and huge 200 metre driveway leads up to the brick home with a triple garage. The property also features a huge shed and is about a 40-minute drive from Sydney’s CBD with views of the Blue Mountains.

The high-density neighbouring homes are built right up to the fence of the property, and neighbours reportedly don’t want the owners to sell as they like living in a cul-de-sac.

Mother Diane Zammit, 50, said the neighbourhood used to be “farmland dotted with little red brick homes and cottages”.

“Every home was unique and there was so much space – but not any more. It’s just not the same,” she told Daily Mail Australia.

Stories of defiant homeowners refusing to give up their properties to developers often strike a chord, which is why the movie The Castle is an Australian favourite.

The family have remained private, not speaking publicly about past offers or intentions for the future.

In China, buildings that are left standing alone as development progresses around them are known as “nail houses”, with the expression now used more widely around the world.

The Disney-Pixar hit movie Up was inspired by the real-life story of Edith Macefield, who refused an offer of $1 million ($A1.3m) from developers in 2006 to sell her house in Seattle.

Developers continued with their project by building around the home, leaving it surrounded by concrete walls.

In a heartwarming turn of events, Macefield ended up striking up a friendship with construction chief Barry Martin who cared for her when she was ill and eventually became her heir when she died at 86 in 2008.

Closer to home, a Queensland house was nicknamed “Brisbane’s Up house” because it was sandwiched between a shopping complex after its owners refused to sell.

Janet Richards finally sold the home in 2015, fifteen years after developers came knocking. Her late husband Norman was born in the home more than 100 years ago.

Another memorable real-life “nail house” story is that of Chinese homeowner Luo Baogen, who refused to allow his home to be demolished and instead ended up living in a half-demolished apartment building in the middle of a highway in 2012.

He later gave up the home and the building was demolished, but not before it made headlines around the world.

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