Cafe must re­move row of sculp­tures

OWN­ERS DIS­AP­POINTED WITH DE­CI­SION

North Wales Weekly News - - NEWS - BY GARETH HUGHES

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.

“Betws-y-Coed

is an

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.

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