New venue to open at last

WHEN the first drinks are served at swanky Ipswich town centre bar Harvey's, its owners will breathe a sigh of relief.

WHEN the first drinks are served at swanky Ipswich town centre bar Harvey's, its owners will breathe a sigh of relief.

Last September, just days before the Queen Street establishment and its £250,000 revamp were due to be unveiled to the public, disaster struck when flames ripped through the building.

Today, 11 months on from the blaze, Harvey's bosses Trevor Hollinsworth and Martin Hale are making final preparations for the opening on August 28.

Mr Hollinsworth said: “It was a real shock to happen just days before it was opening.

“There has been a lot of heartache and I never want to go through this again, but it's incredible to see the place as it is now. To see all of the work completed is really fantastic.”

While the actual process of clearing the bar interior's charred remains has been painstaking enough, the project to get Harvey's up and running has been slowed by negotiations with insurance firms.

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Mr Hollinsworth said: “The process has been dictated by the insurance company.

“We spent the first six or seven months dealing with them to get the money which was owed to us. The fire destroyed everything so we had to start from scratch. We stripped the place right back to the brickwork and completely rebuilt the interior.”

The fire is believed to have been caused by an oily rag, which caught alight.

According to CCTV pictures, the blaze spread within 20 minutes, and when firefighters arrived the whole of the ground floor was engulfed by flames. The two stories above were also heavily smoke-logged.

Mr Hollinsworth described Harvey's, formerly the Coconut Grove, as “all things to all people”.

Opening at 11am as a coffee house and restaurant, the facility transforms into a wine bar and plush eatery in the evening, serving customers until the early hours.

“There will be an area set out for people to come in and socialise with a bottle of wine.

“It will be very different from what the place has been in the past.”

Have you got a story of triumph over adversity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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