Players get preview of new venue

IPSWICH Town's top players were given a sneak preview of a prestigious £4.5million venue due to open to the public next Wednesday . The football club's training grounds are near-neighbours of Grade II-listed Georgian house Kesgrave Hall, which has been transformed into a new restaurant with rooms business by north Essex-based Milsom Hotels, which runs the popular Le Talbooth at Dedham.

IPSWICH Town's top players were given a sneak preview of a prestigious £4.5million venue due to open to the public next Wednesday .

The football club's training grounds are near-neighbours of Grade II-listed Georgian house Kesgrave Hall, which has been transformed into a new restaurant with rooms business by north Essex-based Milsom Hotels, which runs the popular Le Talbooth at Dedham.

The firm will be applying the same winning formula to the new business, which includes a 100-seater restaurant inside and out and 15 bedrooms, which is a joint venture with Colchester-based developer The Hills Group.

Town players including Alan Lee, Sylvain Legwinski, Alex Bruce, Jonathan Walters, Jordan Rhodes and Gary Roberts were given a taste of what the new venue had to offer yesterday, as it gears up for the opening with a series of celebratory events.


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Paul Milsom, managing director of Milsom Hotels, felt players were impressed by what they saw.

“I think they were really bowled over and really impressed with it and they are all planning to come back soon,” he said.

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Mr Milsom said he had been looking for the perfect property for a new Milsoms for some time before coming across the hall at Kesgrave.

“We have always thought there was room in the marketplace for another Milsoms style operation,” he said.

“When we came across this property it just seemed the ideal opportunity. In this area, it's a very unique property. It just seemed the ideal opportunity.”

He added: “Over the years, I have looked at lots of different places, and we have never found anything that captured our imaginations, but this did.”

More than 400 local people applied for the 50 to 60 jobs being created at the site, and they had created a “cracking team”, he said. His wife, Geraldine, designed the contemporary interior, which has taken inspiration from the building's history as both an American air base and an RAF base.

“Obviously, we have lived and breathed the project for the last eight months really ever since we bought in September/October time so it's fantastic to see it all finally put together. Hill have done a fantastic job of building it, and my wife Geraldine has done a fantastic job on the design,” he said.

“The building looks fantastic and I am sure people will be really impressed by what we have done with it. Our concept is restaurant with rooms. We want to be a neighbourhood restaurant where people say: 'Let's not cook tonight, let's go out'.”

Mr Milsom, an ardent Town fan, said his father and his sons were also lifetime supporters, and when Bobby Robson was appointed manager in 1969, he was taken out for a celebratory meal at the Talbooth in Dedham.

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