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Proposed sale of Ilfracombe Post Office advances to next stage

Published: 27th October 2022

Longreach Regional Council will invite those who submitted an Expression of Interest to proceed to tender in the proposed sale of the Ilfracombe Post Office, following a decision of Councillors today.

The decision follows an open Expression of Interest process that was designed to test market interest in the business, including the building and land. Council says it received a number of responses under the process. Each confidential expression of interest was assessed against criteria set by Council, and the panel found all submissions were suitable to be invited to tender. 

Council will now draw up the necessary tender documents to its specifications before inviting the applicants to submit a formal tender.

Mayor Tony Rayner said the expressions of interest were all of good quality and were worth taking forward.

“We received a number of very good responses, which is encouraging. Each of those confidential responses outlined some interesting plans for the business, building and land, which would be great for the community if they come to fruition. 

“The tender process will let us see in more detail what each applicant is proposing.”

He said it still wasn’t guaranteed that the Post Office would be sold.

“If for any reason we aren’t satisfied, the sale won’t go ahead. We’ll be making sure the tender specification reflects our desired outcome, which is that there must be a demonstrated community benefit.”

Mayor Rayner said Council had never considered closing the Post Office.

“At no point have we considered closing the Post Office, or reducing services to Ilfracombe in any way. We simply think there’s a commercial need in Ilfracombe which could be met by someone coming in and developing the Post Office business, in a way that we’re unable to. We’ve been clear from day one that this process is about getting proposals that deliver a better outcome for the community. We want to see the current level of services in the community maintained and improved by any proposed development.

“That’s why we’ve been so careful about this whole process, and we’ll continue to be careful, to make sure we get a good outcome.”

When asked how long the process would take, the Mayor said it would depend on a number of things.

“It’ll take a little while to develop the tender specification and criteria, then the tenders will need to be evaluated, and then a recommendation will be brought to Council. We’ll be able to update the community once we have an outcome. That could be up to three or four months away.

“One thing’s for certain though – we’ll only proceed with a sale if we’re convinced that there’s a community benefit.”

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