Cafe must remove row of sculptures
OWNERS DISAPPOINTED WITH DECISION
ACAFE owner in one of North Wales’s most popular tourist spots has been ordered to remove a row of metal sculptures after being told they were out of keeping with the surroundings.
Planning inspector Kay Sheffield backed the Snowdonia National Park planning committee who said the artwork on top of a wall in Station Approach, Betws-y-Coed, added to clutter and detracted from the appearance of the area.
The sculptures measure up to 1.2 metres high and depict fish, mermaids, waves and birds.
They were placed there by Gwyneth Potgieter, owner of the nearby Alpine Cafe. Her husband Jacha designed the installations.
Gwyneth said: “We have never had any complaints about them, lots of people comment on them and stop for a photo. We are now disappointed we have to remove them.
artist community and we are now in a new era of art. The sculptures were tastefully done, they’re a bonus to the area, and they bring a good vibe to the village.”
But the inspector said: “I am in agreement with the authority the design of the artwork incorporating waves, mermaids and fish suggests a maritime theme whereas the site is some distance from the sea.”
Mrs Potgieter argued that the design, which had been in place for around two years, was meant to reflect the importance of the River Conwy and fishing to Betws-y-Coed.
But Ms Sheffield said she had not explained how the artwork demonstrated that. “Whilst I accept that the river is a feature of the area I consider that the railway is a more important feature in the context of the site,” she said.
“The names of the road and of the buildings make a direct reference to the railway and the entrance to the station and the track beyond is within the parade a short distance to the north of the site.”
The inspector said it was accepted that street art could enhance an area and the sculptures of a rooster and a pair of birds added interest to the street scene because of their quality.
But she continued: “I nevertheless consider the effect of the artwork on the street scene neither preserves nor enhances the character or appearance of the Betwsy-Coed Conservation Area.”
Mrs Potgieter said pieces were needed to stop children climbing onto the walls but the inspector said other measures could overcome that problem.