Chesterfield’s Bar Centro won’t reopen, court rules

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.

A council decision to revoke Bar Centro’s license following drug raids has been upheld after an appeal was thrown out in court.

A hearing at Chesterfield Magistrates heard how the club, on Holywell Street in Chesterfield, was subject to an undercover police operation that uncovered the supply of drugs ‘in plain sight of patrons and staff at the premises’.

Asitha Ranatunga, for the council, told the court on May 28,that six people at the bar sold a total of eight grams of Mcat and two grams to cocaine to officers during the operation, between October and December 2013.

Two others offered what was believed to be drugs to officers and four others were concerned in the supply of drugs.

Duncan Craig, for License holder, Nick Carter, who made the appeal, disputed that any deals had been made in sight of staff.

“There has been only one location identified, away from the bar down toward the back of the premises” he said.

“There is no suggestion that the staff of Bar Centro have been involved in this in anyway.”

Handing down the decision, Peter Greaves, chair of magistrates, said: “There was a supply of drugs to the extent that officers ran out of money to make further deals. This demonstrates the managements failure to implement a drug policy.

He said the appeal would not be upheld. Mr Greaves also ordered Nick Carter to pay the council’s costs, of £6,850.

Councillor Chris Ludlow, Chesterfield Borough Council’s executive member for environment said: “We are pleased the magistrates upheld the decision of the licensing committee.

“We will not tolerate drug dealing and both the committee and the court found there were not sufficient measures in place at the bar to prevent dealing on the premises.”

Speaking after the ruling, Nick Carter, who owns Bar Centro with Shaun Noble, said: “We think the decision is disproportionate to what happened.

“It seems unfair that you can get your business taken off you for one class A deal.”

He added that he has reapplied for a license for Bar Centro naming him as the designated premises supervisor and Shaun Noble as license holder.

A decision will be made by police, Chesterfield council and other agencies by June 6.