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New bid to turn former Ipswich nightclub Bar Fontaine into flats

PUBLISHED: 13:49 27 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:22 27 February 2017

The former Bar Fontaine building could be converted into 12 flats.

The former Bar Fontaine building could be converted into 12 flats.

Archant

A new planning application to turn the former Bar Fontaine and La Dolce Vita nightclub into flats has been lodged with the borough council.

The former Bar Fontaine building could be converted into 12 flats.The former Bar Fontaine building could be converted into 12 flats.

Developer Hannaway Investments wants to turn the building between Old Foundry Road and St Margaret’s Plain into 12 flats – bringing it back into use after more than a decade of largely being left empty.

It has lodged a formal planning application with the borough for the conversion of the building – a previous application to turn it into flats was approved by the council several years ago, but it was never followed through.

However, with more town centre flat conversion work under way in Ipswich, it is now more hopeful that this development will be carried through if it is eventually approved by councillors.

Architect Jon Pattle, of local company Poole and Pattle, is acting as agent on behalf of the owners.

He said he hoped the application would be heard within a few weeks.

The building is listed, although it is not as old as some people think.

It was built in the 1930s in mock Tudor style – at the same time as other parts of the town centre, including the Croydons store, which is now Jack Wills.

It was originally an up-market furniture and antiques store, Green & Hatfield, which had a very high reputation. In 1938 it was visited by Queen Mary who ordered many pieces from it.

The store remained on the site until the 1960s, after which it had several different uses, including operating as nightclubs under several different names, including Falstaff and Bar Fontaine – whose feature was that customers could use antique-style phones to call friend on other tables.

However the last of these, La Dolce Vita, closed in the 1990s and it has stood largely empty since.

The new application is for four two-bedroomed flats, seven one-bedroomed flats and a studio flat to be created in the three-storey building.

Permission for flats was originally granted in 2002 and amended in 2005 to allow the creation of 11 flats.

This was renewed in 2010, but that permission has now lapsed.

However, the applicants are hopeful the principle of developing the site for flats will be accepted when it is discussed by members of the borough’s planning and development committee in the spring.

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