Posted: 23.06.21 at 19:37 by The Editor
A popular wine shop proprietor has defended herself after Conwy Town Council accused her of knocking down a church wall so customers could access her beer garden.
At a town council meeting this week, Conwy Town Council considered a retrospective planning application for a beer garden at Vinomondo on the High Street.
But several councillors took aim at the wine shop for not applying for planning permission sooner – as the beer garden has been open for over a year.
But councillors also accused Vinomondo of knocking down a wall in St Mary’s cemetery at the back of the shop for access to the beer garden.
Vinomondo owner Julie Mills has defended the shop, calling the accusations ‘wildly inaccurate rumours’.
Julie said “Any delays in seeking retrospective planning permission were completely beyond Vinomondo's control. It took three months to get a set of drawings completed and a further seven and a half months for a planning consultant to have the time to submit our application. All other planning consultants asked refused to take our application on because they were too busy.
“Vinomondo utterly refutes the wildly inaccurate rumours that it was, in any way, responsible for knocking down a boundary wall adjoining the churchyard. The wall is the responsibility of the owners of 21 High Street and the Church. It is not our property. The wall has been dilapidated since 2009 at least.
“Prior to October 2020 the garden area in question was a rat-infested rubbish tip. With much hard work and expense, it now provides local employment and would be a shining attribute to any town.”
At the meeting Cllr Joan Vaughan commented: “None of us like retrospective planning, do we?”
“But Vinomondo has been operating this beer garden for well over 12 months and very profitably so, I’d imagine. I don’t have an objection. They’ve done what they’ve been told they must do, but I think we should add a note. It’s not good enough, is it? When they’ve been operating 18 months at least, and then they come for planning. It is not good enough.”
Cllr Goronwy Edwards then asked about damage to St Mary’s church wall.
Cllr Joan Vaughan said: “My understanding is that they needed another exit or entrance (to the beer garden), so they knocked down the wall.
“But the wall is a church wall. Now the church is actually fundraising now to repair the wall while negotiations go on as to who eventually will pick up the cost. But I assure you, Vinomondo won’t. So that’s another contentious… It’s really upset the residents in Conwy, really upset them that they’d have the cheek to knock down a church wall, just to make an entrance. They are beyond… cheeky. I won’t say no more.”
Cllr Collette Ryan responded: “No, don’t say any more. But I understand completely.”
Cllr Janette Hughes then said she had concerns about processing the planning application if it contained unresolved legal or civil matters, adding: “As Cllr Joan says, the community are not very happy about the way that that’s been handled, not very sensitively at all.”
Cllr Collette Ryan added: “I would absolutely agree about what’s being said here tonight. I’ve had people come up to me and are very upset by the whole thing, and it’s a shame because Vinomondo, if you go for a drink, is absolutely lovely. But it should never have happened the way it happened.”
The town council agreed not to raise an objection against the retrospective planning application to convert the garden to a beer garden but have added a note about the demolition of part of the wall. The application will now go to Conwy County Council.
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