New restaurant gutted by fire

A MANAGER of a new Ipswich wine bar and restaurant, due to open tomorrow, said he will not be beaten after a fire completely destroyed it early today.Firefighters arrived at Harvey's, in Queen Street, at 3.

A MANAGER of a new Ipswich wine bar and restaurant, due to open tomorrow, said he will not be beaten after a fire completely destroyed it early today.

Firefighters arrived at Harvey's, in Queen Street, at 3.20am today to find the whole of the ground floor engulfed with flames, and the two other storeys, which included at least two commercial offices and three flats, were heavily smoke logged.

The fire completely destroyed the bar area on the ground floor, at one time a lap dancing club, which has just undergone a £100,000 refurbishment, in time for the grand opening tomorrow under new ownership.

The incident is currently being investigated by fire chiefs.

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Philip Donnell, manager of Harvey's, arrived at the scene at 7.45am today, having no idea that his restaurant had gone up in flames overnight.

He said: “I'm gutted obviously. I haven't been allowed in the building yet as it is crime scene.

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“We will reopen-it may be a couple of months. We will have to wait to see what the damage is.

“We are not going to be beaten by this.”

Three people living in the flats above were alerted by a fire alarm system and escaped the burning building before firefighters arrived. They were allowed back into their properties within an hour.

Harry Smith, sub officer for Red Watch at Princes Street station, said: “As we approached, we could see smoke right across the street and there were three people standing on the street by the Corn Exchange.

“The street was heavily smoke logged. Smoke and flames were coming out of the main window next to the Princes Street entrance. It was a well developed fire, which had been burning for some time.

“This was not something small-it filled the whole room. It has caused severe damage.”

Four crews from Princes Street and Colchester Road tackled the flames, and brought it under control within 15 minutes.

The cause of the fire is currently unexplained. Police said they are assisting fire officers with the investigation.

The venue, one of the busiest locations in Ipswich, previously opened as Coconut Grove and before that the Giles Tavern.

Speaking last week, Mr Donnell said the building had been completely reworked and redesigned as a chic and modern area for people to eat and meet.

It is the latest venture from Hollywood Leisure which already owns Ipswich nightspots Fire and Ice and Ollie's Cocktail Café.

Did you see what happened? Have you any images of the fire? Contact The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324788 or e-mail

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