Wales

Wetherspoons boss travels 200 miles in carpet row

The carpet with the coat of arms Image copyright Wales news service
Image caption The carpet has proved popular with customers, according to Tim Martin

The chairman of Wetherspoons travelled to a seaside town to try and resolve a row over a carpet in one of his pubs.

It features the Barry Town Council coat of arms and was fitted in the Sir Samuel Romilly during a £715,000 refit last year.

However, councillors told him to rip it up, threatening to take him to a court dating back to the 14th century that settles coat of arms disputes.

Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin travelled 200 miles to meet council officials.

He said: "There's been a bit of argy-bargy over the carpet in the pub and we have had correspondence with the council.

"We are a chain of pubs, but I think pubs need to find an authenticity and we try to restore the buildings in-keeping with the original building if we can and to include history of the area and the building.

"We also try to use some local art work and I think it's just an extension of that."

Image caption Tim Martin said he hoped the dispute could be resolved without "legal shenanigans"

The coat of arms was patented and granted by the Queen's father George VI in 1939.

It features the words "Cadernid Cyfiawnder Cynnydd" - Welsh for "Stability Justice Progress" - under two unicorns, a boat and the Welsh dragon.

Barry councillors had threatened to take Mr Martin to the Court of Chivalry, which was set up in the 14th century but has not sat since 1954.

Mr Martin called the row "extreme", adding: "I think it's a question of trying to balance the strong feeling of our customers who overwhelmingly say we should keep the carpet."

Image copyright Wales news service
Image caption The chain operates about 900 pubs

He met council officials in private and mayor Margaret Wilkinson said it was "important to reach a resolution".

She added: "He [Mr Martin] noted that he felt it was not necessary to get into an argument over a small area of carpet.

"He also noted that he felt that the public's perception was that the council was being too extreme in requesting a specially-designed carpet to be removed.

"He added that he would be happy for the carpet to be replaced with an alternative when it had reached the end of its life."

Councillors agreed to wait for a letter from JD Wetherspoon including options for a resolution.

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