Restauranteur could give town job boost

A RESTAURANTEUR wants to transform a disused former Ipswich dance hall into a brassiere, creating 50 jobs.Ken Ambler, who established Mortimer's Seafood Restaurant before it was absorbed into a national chain, hopes to turn the former Arlington dance hall into an eatery, a coffee house and a sandwich shop.

A RESTAURATEUR wants to transform a disused former Ipswich dance hall into a brasserie, creating 50 jobs.

Ken Ambler, who established Mortimer's Seafood Restaurant before it was absorbed into a national chain, hopes to turn the former Arlington dance hall into an eatery, a coffee house and a sandwich shop.

Mr Ambler plans to renovate the Grade II listed building in Museum Street and would like it to open in late summer or October next year.

He has applied to Ipswich Borough Council for planning permission.

The venture would create 15 full-time jobs and about 35 part-time jobs.

Mr Ambler, 48, a chef who trained in Toulouse, wants to run a French brassiere, which specialises in Suffolk meat in the 600 square metre former ballroom. It would be called Arlington.

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He said: “We plan to use a lot of local suppliers, from places like Needham Market. We will do steaks and traditional French food.

“It's a fantastic building. We want to be accessible to shoppers and the sandwich shop will be ideal for passing trade.”

Mr Ambler set up Mortimer's - named after little-known eighteenth century painter Thomas Mortimer - in Duke Street in 2002 after buying the former Eastern Electricity substation two years earlier.

He had it decommissioned and ran it until 2005, when he sold a 21-year-lease there to the Loch Fyne chain for £500,000.

Now Mr Ambler, and his wife, Elizabeth, who live in Valley Road, Ipswich, want to work again here.

They have also previously run a restaurant on the town's waterfront, Mortimer's on the Quay, before they moved it to Duke Street, and another in Bury St Edmunds, which has been sold.

The Arlington used to be home to Ipswich School of Dancing.

What do you think of Mr Ambler's plan? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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