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Council threatens enforcement action in village pub gazebo row

29 Apr 2024 3 minute read
The White Lion Inn in Llanelian.

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

A village pub says gazebos erected during the height of the Covid pandemic are vital for business after a council began enforcement action to take them down.

The White Lion Inn in Llanelian has now applied to Conwy County Council’s planning department, seeking permission to keep the two gazebos up for another three years.

Applicant Nina Cole wants to retain the gazebo at the Llanelian Road pub on the 60 square metres of land whilst considering how she might extend the listed pub building in future.

The pub says the two gazebos were erected in April 2021 so customers could enjoy a drink during the height of the COVID pandemic, a particularly difficult time for the hospitality sector.

The pub claims it was assured in December 2020 by Conwy it didn’t need planning permission for a non-permanent structure.

But according to the application, Conwy then contacted the applicant in August 2023, notifying pub managers that retrospective planning permission was needed, due to the length of time the gazebos had remained.


A planning statement explained: “The application is submitted following a live planning enforcement investigation by Conwy County Council,” it reads.

“The structures were erected in April 2021 to provide a safe outdoor area for customers to utilise during the COVID-19 pandemic and comply with the social distancing guidelines brought about as a result.”

The letter then explained the gazebos allowed the pub to continue during a time when the ‘hospitality sector was particularly under threat’ and added, “The development is well liked by both the local and tourist population and now forms an integral part of the facilities offered at The White Lion.”

The pub says the gazebos offer anxious customers the choice to remain outdoors as well as additional space during busy periods.

In the letter to the council, the pub said statistics released by the Welsh Beer and Pub Association showed Wales had lost 63 pubs in 2023, resulting in the loss of over 770 jobs.


“The structures were brought about almost as a lifeline for the pub during the incredibly challenging global pandemic and have grown to become a popular addition and welcome expansion to the establishment,” the statement reads.

“The pavilions are used by customers who are still concerned about going indoors due to various health reasons or disabilities which make them vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. The structures are also used by dog owners, and they provide a space for overfill on busy days, especially on Sundays.”

The statement added: “Economically, times are challenging, and the development has helped to ensure the longevity of the established local business.”

Several residents have written to Conwy in support of the planning application. The application is likely to be debated by councillors at a future planning committee meeting at Conwy’s Bodlondeb HQ.

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