Work has begun on a controversial James Bond-style helipad in New Zealand's most expensive suburb.

Briscoe Group managing director Rod Duke and his wife Patricia got resource consent in August to demolish an old boat shed near their property in Herne Bay and build a new one with a roof that folds back just as a chopper is about to land.

The Dukes are building a new house in Sarsfield St above the bay and their site slopes down to the waterfront and one of Auckland's closest inner-city beaches.

Duke, whose retail empire encompasses Briscoes Homeware, Living & Giving and Rebel Sport, received consent to make three flights a week from the new structure.

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Co-chair of the Herne Bay Residents Association Dirk Hudig told the Herald that construction had begun on the structure.

"Although we believe the entire consent ought never to have been consented to, he's got it and there's not a lot that anybody can do about it," Hudig said.

Hudig believed the council had made a mistake doing so because there was public land involved.

"It's a popular beach, it's well-used ... it's a pity this consent hadn't been considered more when it was originally put in," he said.