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Row rumbles on over former village pub in holiday let plans

05 Apr 2024 4 minute read
The Vaynol Arms protesters show their opposition (Image Pentir Action group)

Dale Spridgeon Local Democracy Reporter

A row over plans to convert a former historic coaching inn into holiday accommodation is rumbling on as planners consider a new application.

The Pentir village action group says it wants to obtain the 18th century former Vaynol Arms for use as a village pub and community hub – although the owners say they have received “no firm offers” to buy the property. The group have also turned down an offer to lease the pub in the Gwynedd village.

The action group had recently launched a petition which gathered 843 signatures and held a rally after proposals to convert the ground floor of the historic tavern were received by Cyngor Gwynedd.


The protest in March was attended by around 70 people, including the Plaid Cymru parliamentary candidate Catrin Wager and Archdruid for Wales Myrddin ap Dafydd.

The group was objecting after applicant and agent Paul Roberts, of Sylfaen Associates Ltd submitted a full planning application for “the change of use of the ground floor from public house to holiday lets”. A previous plan was rejected.

The Vaynol Arms protesters show their opposition (Image Pentir Action group)

The upper floor of the pub is already run as a successful three bedroom apartment and listed on Airbnb. The current owners, Vaynol Arms Ltd, said despite listing the ground floor area for lease as a pub, it had had no takers.

They had also received “no firm offer” from the Action Group – despite offering “a lease on favourable terms”. They stated the property was not up for sale.

The former village pub was previously sold by Frederick Robinsons in 2020, as a vacant building with associated land – “not as a going concern,” the couple stated.

After the property was purchased it was leased to R&R Tavern who re-opened it in late June, 2021 as a pub/restaurant on a temporary license. Duncan Gilroy, director at Vaynol Arms Ltd, said it later closed for six weeks amid an appeal against local objections to an application for a full licence.

It again reopened for a short while but then ceased trading in January / February, 2022. Once R&R Taverns had vacated the property, they said they  “offered the lease on extremely favourable terms” to Pentir Action.


“We agreed to a rent free period, a year at substantially reduced rent rising eventually over a period of three years to a rent equivalent of 50% of the rent the previous landlord had paid Robinsons” Mr Gilroy said.

In a letter to the owners, from the action group, dated March 29, the group had written that it did not feel that leasing was “an appropriate option.”

“We wish to purchase the entire property, and we suggest independent valuations of the Vaynol Arms are obtained. When these have been received and when you are ready to sell, we can then carry matters forwards.”

As yet no agreement has been made. The owners say the ground floor of the property had been available for rent for functions and listed for lease.

“While we have hosted a number of one off functions, no operator or individual has come forward with a view to entering into a lease to operate a pub or restaurant at the Vaynol Arms,” they said.

Harry Hambleton of the action group said “At the moment we have a petition running which so far has 844 signatures. The date for submission of objections has passed, so we are just letting the petition run now to see how many we can get.

“We have also offered, once again, to purchase the property but have so far not received an answer. In view of the pending planning application we are again in a waiting game. We offered to purchase the premises subject to independent valuation. We have yet to hear from Mr Gilroy. Perhaps he is waiting for the planning decision, but he has previously stated that he and his wife are not minded to sell.”

Mr Gilroy confirmed that the property was not up for sale.

He said they had offered to meet with the group to discuss a potential lease. A letter had been received stating that they did not wish to rent the ground floor, but that there was “a wish to buy the property.”

“We received that letter late last week. However no actual offer has been received from Pentir Action.”

He added: “Without an offer and proof of funding we can not considerwhether or not we wish to sell the property.”

View the community group’s petition here.

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