Fightback by bar owners

A NEW bar destroyed by a devastating fire, just days before its official opening, is set to be fully refurbished by June, its owner said today.Trevor Hollinsworth, one of the owners of Harvey's in Queen Street, has today spoken about his battle to get the bar up and running again after suffering a massive setback when a blaze practically gutted the premises in September 2007.

A NEW bar destroyed by a devastating fire, just days before its official opening, is set to be fully refurbished by June, its owner said today.

Trevor Hollinsworth, one of the owners of Harvey's in Queen Street, has today spoken about his battle to get the bar up and running again after suffering a massive setback when a blaze practically gutted the premises in September 2007.

The bar, formerly opened as Coconut Grove, had just undergone a £250,000 refurbishment and was due to open under new ownership two days after the fire struck.

After waiting months for various red tape issues to be resolved, the refurbishment finally began in February, and is due to be a combination of a coffee bar, wine bar and restaurant when it opens in two months' time.


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Mr Hollinsworth said: “It has been an absolute nightmare. With these things there is a lot of red tape and we have had to talk to lots of insurance companies before we could start anything. It takes an age to get anything moving along. It has given me a lot more grey hair than I had before.

“The bar is starting to take shape again now and it is very exciting.”

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The fire is believed to have been caused by an oily rag, which caught alight. Mr Hollinsworth explained that the floor had been oiled the day before, and the rag had been discarded by the builders without realising that it could burn. According to CCTV pictures, it spread within 20 minutes, and when firefighters arrived at 3.20am, the whole of the ground floor was engulfed with flames and the two other storeys were heavily smoke-logged.

Three people living in the flats above were alerted by a fire alarm system and escaped the burning building before fire crews arrived.

Mr Hollinsworth and Philip Donnell, the manager, arrived at the scene at 8am to find that all their hard work had gone up in smoke.

Mr Hollinsworth added: “It was a real shock to happen just days before it was opening. I went straight to the bar that morning because we were going to set out everything. We were gobsmacked. I thought how could this happen?

“It has given us the opportunity to make it a better bar than before. It has taken it back to the bare bones so we have had to built it from scratch. Saying that it has been a lot of heartache and I never want to go through this again.”

Have you fought against a serious setback in your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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