Bar owners appeal over drug closure

Chesterfield Bar Centro. Nick Carter, Jonathan Bradbury and Shaun Noble launch Bring Back Centro.
Chesterfield Bar Centro. Nick Carter, Jonathan Bradbury and Shaun Noble launch Bring Back Centro.

Owners of two town centre bars that were shut by the council last week over drug-related activity have vowed to appeal the decision.

C&N Leisure Ltd’s Nick Carter and Shaun Noble, who own Bar Centro, and Jason Hill of Isis Noir told the Derbyshire Times they will challenge Chesterfield Borough Council’s move to revoke their licences in the courts.

Nick Carter, licence holder at Bar Centro on Holywell Street, said: “We feel the licensing committee made the wrong decision. The town centre is on a decline anyway, so why close two big venues down when they had other options?

“Let’s not forget that there are going to be no criminal charges brought against us.

“Those people who have been dealing drugs or taking drugs have broken the law. They are the criminals. We haven’t broken the law, but we are the victims.” A campaign to see Bar Centro reopened has been launched on social media, with groups springing up to jump to the bar’s defence.

One - Justice for Bar Centro - has more than 200 members, including Rachel Traveller, who said: “Injustice is an understatement. So sorry to hear the news.”

A campaign fronted by staff at the other bars owned by the team – called Bring Back Centro – will see bar tenders at Evolution, the Victoria and Cheekys wearing hoodies emblazoned with the slogan. Shaun Noble added: “It isn’t just Bar Centro it affects. If we lose the appeal C&N Leisure is gone, and that means our other venues. Then 50 people are out of jobs and five people are effectively homeless.”

During a three-month police operation between October and December last year, stings at Bar Centro uncovered drug-related activity in the premises.

In Isis, drug deals were facilitated by members of staff, according to the police reports.

Jason Hill, owner of Isis Noir on Corporation Street called on the community to support small businesses.

“Overall, it is for the authorities, licensees as well as patrons and leisure users to pull together to ensure that the valuable night-time economy is not destroyed and that we can have a safe, enjoyable place to spend our leisure time.”

“Although this outcome was not what we had hoped for, we now know where we stand and with the arrests made and perpetrators charged, we can concentrate on the appeal.”