AN OUTRAGED bar owner blasted his council after he claimed an official trawled through planning records and used a 42-year-old rule to shut his business down.
Jason Hammer, who owns the CFeleven bar, on Cathedral Road, Cardiff, claimed the employee searched through records dating back to the 1980s in a desperate bid to destroy the hotspot.
The plush gin bar opened six years ago and is attached to a bed and breakfast that has been up and running for 40 years.
The planning restriction in question was found in an archive that stated the B&B was originally approved with the condition its bar is only open to "residents of the hotel."
Jason, who has owned the site for 16 years, told WalesOnline: "As far as we were aware there were no issues with planning.
"During Covid we had an increase of people drinking in the garden and there were some complaints about the noise.
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"The council's environmental health department did a sound test and we weren't a noise nuisance or anything."
However, it was this sound check that sparked the investigation, according to the frustrated bar owner.
"Then one of the people in environmental health said he wanted to see all the planning conditions. It was him who fired the gun," Jason continued.
"He asked the planning department to check the conditions going back decades," he added.
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"They checked the microfiche archives and found a condition from 1980 saying we could sell alcohol but only to hotel guests."
Jason has had to make five employees redundant, including one who lives in the property.
He claimed they had been given three months notice, which he believed was not long enough for someone to find other arrangements.
Despite the planning objection being enforced because the bar is only meant for "residents of the hotel," Jason suggested the real reason was noise complaints.
But he hit back at Cardiff Council and highlighted four other pubs and bars, the Pontcanna Inn, the Beverley, the Halfway, the Conway, and the Robin Hood, which are closer to houses.
"We had just spent a lot of money converting the whole downstairs and garden, putting in a kitchen and getting a heater umbrella… It's ridiculous," he said.
"No one even knew about the planning condition. It wouldn't surprise me if a few of the former B&Bs on Cathedral Road have a similar rule," he continued.
The devastated owner said he's unsure of the future his bar holds.
He said: "It's an option to keep running it as a B&B but it's also an option to convert to flats or sell it."
Cardiff Council has been contacted for comment.
However, it appears there are residents who back the council's move.
After the rule was presented to the gin bar they appealed the decision, but were slapped with 15 separate objections from the public.
Norman Stebson wrote: "I oppose this on the grounds that the noise, extra traffic, drunken behaviour, temporary taxi rank, dumping of glasses in nearby gardens, and urinating in the back lane have all been witnessed by myself."
Dyfrig Jones added: "The noise coming from this bar is unbelievable — it is jam-packed and it makes it difficult for my children to study and sleep.
"It is constant on Friday evening from 5pm, Saturday from 2pm and on Sunday also. All year around. Unacceptable."
Dr Edward Fahey questioned the business' claim that the bar was not a "large stand-up volume drinking establishment."
He pointed out that the venue advertises for parties of up to 120 people and commented: "In my opinion 120 people in a bar is a large volume premises."
And Fiona Davies wrote: "Customers leave vomit and cigarette butts outside the property on a regular basis and are extremely loud when leaving the premises.
"The premises are a blight on what is primarily a residential neighbourhood."
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In response, Jason said: "It's not a Wetherspoon pub. We haven't got sport on with people chanting and cheering.
"I understand you've got your immediate residents but we shut the garden at 9pm as a condition of the licence."
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