Ipswich: Troubled Zest nightclub to get new lease of life?

IPSWICH: Fresh hopes emerged today for a once-troubled nightclub after a new licensee came forward to take it over.

The Evening Star understands that a formal application to take over the venue formerly known as Zest is to be submitted to Ipswich Borough Council shortly, which would see it transformed into a live music venue.

This could mean a fresh start for the beleaguered nightspot, which has stood empty in the heart of the town for the past four-and-a-half years since it was closed down by the council following the murder of 24-year-old Jimoh Plunkett in December 2006.

The former maltings building had already earned an unsavoury reputation with a string of violent incidents and another murder in 2000 when it was known as Kartouche.

Council leader and Gipping ward representative David Ellesmere welcomed the move to regenerate the building, but said the application would have to be closely examined given the venue’s previous history.

“As a building, it’s been empty for a long time and we would like to see it being brought back into use,” he said. “But obviously there have been concerns in the past about how it has operated.

“If we can get somebody in to run the venue in a responsible manner so we don’t have the same problems as we had before, and get another live music venue for Ipswich, then that could be a good thing.”

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Since its closure, there have been several moves by groups in the area to take over the impressive building, which is currently boarded up and awaiting refurbishment.

These include the September 2009 effort by the Divine Ministries Young People (DMYP) movement to turn it into a youth centre where young people from across Ipswich could meet up.

But the building’s �1.8million price tag proved to be one of several stumbling blocks and the Christian movement was forced to abandon its plans.

CLS Holdings Ltd, the company which owns the building, was not in a position to comment last night.

n Do you think the Princes Street venue should reopen? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk