Ipswich City Council discussed the sale of Swifts Sports Club at its meeting on Thursday.
Ipswich City Council discussed the sale of Swifts Sports Club at its meeting on Thursday.

Speculation over club’s withdrawal on purchase offer

IPSWICH’S deputy mayor has speculated that Swifts Leagues Club decided against buying the site it has occupied for two decades as it couldn’t acquire more green space as part of a planned overhaul of the club.

Swifts wanted to purchase council-owned Swifts Sports Club in Cameron Park, a building it has occupied since 2001, with plans to redevelop the facility.

Ipswich City Council decided in August it would lead a community consultation to determine whether selling it off was the right call for local residents.

It said a community consultation undertaken late last year by Swifts was insufficient.

But Swifts Leagues Club chairman John Hughes sent a letter to council CEO David Farmer on September 11, saying the club do not wish to proceed with the process.

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The club will continue leasing the site, with another ten years left on the lease.

Councillors unanimously voted to repeal the decision they made in August to undertake community consultation at Thursday morning’s meeting.

Deputy mayor and Division 3 councillor Marnie Doyle said she had “mixed views” on the outcome.

“I was very motivated, I guess, to see all parties explore all options here,” she said.

“I know the importance of having their own club.

“The feedback I got from residents seemed to be that they have lived with the Swifts operating from the current footprint for quite some time and business as usual, I guess, wasn’t a problem for them going forward.

“However, it became very clear there was no appetite and no tolerance by the community for council to potentially sell off a bigger footprint than what Swifts currently occupy.

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“The community were outraged by us potentially carving off some green space from the park and adding that to the area Swifts were looking for.”

Cr Doyle said she could “only guess” the reasons why Swifts have not decided to proceed with the purchase.

“If I make the assumption that it’s because it’s only the existing footprint that is being offered to them and not the additional land then in my view council has done all it can,” she said.

“(It’s) obviously a good outcome for residents … (not) selling off green space.

“That’s a well used park.”

Swifts has been contacted for comment.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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