Zest could provide jobs boost

UP to 100 jobs could be created at the former Zest nightclub under ambitious proposals to transform the building into a multi-million pound youth centre.

UP to 100 jobs could be created at the former Zest nightclub under ambitious proposals to transform the building into a multi-million pound youth centre.

The grade II listed structure has been empty since December 2006 when it was forced to close after the shooting of Londoner Jimoh Plunkett.

Now, charity CSV - currently based at The Point on the junction of Princes Street and Portman Road - is planning to buy the troubled nightspot and convert it into a “world class” facility for young people.

And if the organisation is successful, bosses estimate that between 50 and 100 jobs will be created.


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CSV has a one in four chance of receiving a �3m grant from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) as part of the government's My Place initiative.

A bid to the DCSF will be submitted next week with a decision expected by December.

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The charity is also in negotiations with other grant-awarding bodies, including the borough and county councils, in an attempt to secure between �5.5m and �8.5m to fully refurbish Zest.

The proposals include the creation of high-tech multi-media facilities, a performance space, a sports area and an art house cinema, which would go some way to replacing the former Corn Exchange Film Theatre.

If funding is secured, the centre could be open within two years.

CSV manager Bruce MacGregor said: “I think this could be something of which the whole town will be proud. The impact could be huge.

“Because of the murder at Zest, everybody has bought into the idea of turning around a place with a dark history. There is a passion to do something positive.

“We find out whether our bid for funding has been successful in December. But we will move forward with this vision whether we get the money or not.”

What should happen to the former nightclub building? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starnews@eveningsatar.co.uk

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