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Central Club in Leek to remain as entertainment venue after sale

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 24, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

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A town centre club has been sold – but is set to remain as an entertainment venue despite a number of staff losing their jobs.

The Central Club, Leek. has been sold to local property developer John Shaw.

It means the loss of an unspecified number of jobs at the Market Street venue.

However, co-owner of the Silken Strand Hotel in St Edward Street, Terry Rogers, is leasing the building to run it as an entertainment venue.

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Mr Rogers said: "We can do events inside the Silken Strand for up to 100 people, but on occasions we have had to go off site due to the size of an event.

"We want to bring in lots of live entertainment. We knew Leek was up and coming when we moved into the Silken Strand.

"Running the Central Club will be long term. We want to develop the whole building into an entertainment centre."

The sale does mean the end of the Central Club, as it has been known since it opened as 'Leek Central Club and Institute' in 1880. It will be now known as 'The Old Central'.

Staff losing their jobs include the current steward and bar staff.

Mr Rogers said: "It is a downside that the club staff will not be keeping their jobs. We have our own team who will be offered more hours. However, we may look to employ more people in the future. We will see how it goes."

Central Club committee secretary Roy Tomkinson told the Post & Times: "Obviously this is a sad time for the club, but I am pleased that it is going to continue as a watering hole, although I am pretty saddened for members who have been members of the club for so long.

"I think that all places that sell alcohol are struggling for various reasons. The smoking ban didn't help.

"I just hope that existing members will keep on using it.

"We wish Terry all good luck in running it. It is good that he will be honouring all the party bookings which have already been made.

"We will assist Terry in any way we can during the transition period."

He added: "We also want to keep the sporting teams going such as darts and pool."

Mr Rogers said: "There are bookings that have been made for over the next 18 months. We will honour all of them, from the christening parties to the Kingfisher Evenings."

No date has been set yet for the changeover, but Mr Rogers said it could be in the next four to six weeks.

He said: "Everything has been signed but the solicitors need to do their bit.

"We will be refurbishing the building bit by bit.

"There are a few structural works that need to be carried out such as solving a leak at the back of the building.

"The electrics will also need all rewiring at some point."

Mr Rogers added: "We are not going to try and be like The Red Lion or Elmo's but more a venue for those aged 25 to 35.

"There is a market in Leek that is not catered for.

"We will be open to try any kind of event.

"If they work then we will develop them.

"I aim to get national acts into Leek and also want to work with local bands.

Mr Rogers added: "Leek is really lifting up for example withSainsbury's in town now and Premier being built, and now The Central becoming an entertainment centre."

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