Wetherspoon’s boss travels 200 miles to settle pub carpet dispute

The chairman of pub chain J.D. Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, has said a local councillor “took against” his business after he was forced to travel 200 miles and settle a dispute over a new carpet.

The Sir Samuel Romilly in Barry (Photo: Wiki)

The Sir Samuel Romilly, in Barry, Wales, was fitted with a new carpet as part of a £715,000 refit last year.

But Barry Town Council objected to the boozer’s new carpet, which featured the Barry Town Council coat of arms, and demanded it be ripped up. Councillors also threatened to take Martin to a court dating to the 14th century which deals with coat of arms disputes. Martin himself ended up travelling 200 miles to Barry to settle the dispute with councillors in private last month.

Martin travelled to Barry for a meeting with councillors on 20 January, to discuss the use of the town crest in The Sir Samuel Romilly pub.

Martin told the drinks business he believed “one of the councillor’s took against Wetherspoon.”

During the meeting, the minutes for which have now been published, Barry mayor, Cllr Margaret Wilkinson said on 12 July 2019 Barry Town Council received a letter from the architects responsible for the installation of the carpet bearing the Barry Town Council Armorial Bearings (Coat of Arms) at The Sir Samuel Romilly.

“The letter requested retrospective permission for use of the council’s coat of arms on a carpet, which had already been laid. There had been no earlier request though a request ought to have been made before plans were made.”

The council then refused the belated request on 22 July.

Martin, according to the mayor, had been unaware he would be asked to make a statement to the council, and “felt the situation with the use of the crest had gotten out of hand and it had been difficult for either party to retreat.”

The coat of arms includes the words “Cadernid Cyfiawnder Cynnydd” – Welsh for “Stability Justice Progress” – under two unicorns, a boat and the Welsh dragon.

Martin said he was confident a case couldn’t be brought forward over the pub itself, which employs 50 people.

“From what I can tell the great majority of locals like the carpet and the pub.”

“As I understand it, it’s almost impossible to launch a legal action in this sort of case – the council may disagree.”

Martin added the chain had offered to replace the carpet when it wears out in about three years.

The news comes after Martin had pledged to spend £200 million investing in his estate, with a raft of new openings and refurbishments planned over the next four years.

Martin said: “We’ve never come across this sort of thing before.”

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