New roads, more parks and higher density living in plan for Withers

Headshot of Shannon Verhagen
Shannon VerhagenSouth Western Times
R30 apartments in Withers.
Camera IconR30 apartments in Withers.

New roads, higher density living and more parks, lighting and surveillance are among ideas put forward in an ambitious plan to revitalise, reduce crime and encourage future development in Withers.

The Central Withers Structure Plan — developed by the Department of Communities — will be put to Bunbury city councillors to vote on next week.

And the planners anticipate it to be a “catalyst for the physical and cultural rebirth of Withers as an attractive, safe, supportive and energetic community within Bunbury”.

Mayor Gary Brennan said there were “high aspirations” for the area and if the plan got the go ahead from council and the WA Planning Commission, they would be seeking an investment of “several millions” from the State Government to make it happen.

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It follows a $3 million jointly-funded project by the Bunbury City Council and State Government to improve the suburb about seven years ago.

The 52ha area includes community housing, privately owned land, the Withers Library, Des Ugle Park, Hudson Road Family Centre and vacant land owned by DoC, the State Government or under management order with the council.

Despite the mixed tenure and use of the land, the plan was prepared for the entire area to enable a “coordinated approach to the urban renewal of the site”.

For years, the community of Withers and wider Bunbury have expressed a strong desire for improved housing, facilities and investment in the suburb.

DoC Plan

Several land parcels zoned R20/30 within the suburb are proposed to be increased to R60 and R80 almost doubling the number of dwellings from 384 to 630 — to “incentivise redevelopment”.

The ratio of dwellings is proposed to be 11 per cent social housing, 15 per cent affordable housing and 74 per cent full market housing. There will also be work undertaken to increase the amount of public open space by 4 per cent and retain as many established trees as possible.

The DoC has also requested the council relinquish the management order over several portions of land to allow for the construction of a road linking the suburb to Minninup Road.

The road network within the Central Withers area historically suffers from poor connectivity with numerous cul-de-sacs and dead ends, resulting in excessively long road trips and restricted access for emergency and public services.

DoC Plan
A Withers laneway with no surveiilance.
Camera IconA Withers laneway with no surveiilance.

The plan also anticipates the inclusion of lighting, surveillance, landscaping or artwork in public access ways will reduce anti-social and criminal activity.

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