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Bunbury to push for inner-city living over next decade

The next ten years is expected to see an increase inner-city living for Bunbury - including the potential to live above shops. 

Western Australia's biggest regional city is close to adopting a new town-planning scheme that will allow greater flexibility for the development of residential apartments in the central business district (CBD), in addition to other key neighbourhood centres.

Mayor Gary Brennan said that he expects demand for inner-city and affordable housing to continue rising in the coming years. 

As a result of this, he told Domain that the city needed to allow planning to be flexible enough for developers to meet the demand.

"Our ambition is to see neighbourhood centres - which include shopping, schools and public transport - have high-density residential close by," he remarked, adding: "This includes centres such as the Bunbury Plaza and the Bunbury Forum."

Several developers have already been pushing for increased urban housing, with the local council last month facing calls to relax its opposition to people living above commercial premises. 

This has not traditionally been as popular in Western Australia as it has been in other, more heavily-populated states, with regional centres slower to embrace such opportunities. 

However, the population of the south-west is expected to soar from approximately 160,000 today to around 500,000 by 2050. 

With this in mind, the state government and industry experts alike are looking at new residential property opportunities to provide much-needed extra affordable housing - and this includes shop-top living. 

Real Estate in Perth and Western Australia (REIWA), the professional body for the region's real estate industry, said policy is needed to drive infill development closer to the city centre. 

REIWA president Hayden Groves said: "We need to focus on infill in regional centres and areas close to the CBD, which will place less strain on transport links."

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