JD Wetherspoon in pub carpet row with town council

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Removal request: councillors argue there is no community benefit from JDW using its coat of arms (image: Jaggery, Geograph)
Removal request: councillors argue there is no community benefit from JDW using its coat of arms (image: Jaggery, Geograph)

Related tags: Jdw, Design

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) may have to defend a decision to use a town crest on a pub carpet in an ancient court after council officials' asked for it to be ripped up.

A new carpet was installed at the Sir Samuel Romilly pub in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, bearing the town council’s crest.

It was part of a £715,000 refurbishment that JDW boss Tim Martin said showed the company’s “commitment to the town, its residents and our employees”. 

Barry Town councillors decided to ask the pub company to remove the carpet following a full council meeting earlier this summer. 

The topic was discussed after pub architects wrote to the council for retrospective permission to use the design. 

Martin said he hoped legal action – which would see the first coat of arms dispute at the Court of Chivalry since 1954 – could be avoided.

Misalignment of values

Councillors agreed JD Wetherspoon had “a misalignment of values”, as the council was a living wage employer and opposed zero-hours contracts. 

It outlined “a lack of local community benefits for Barry” because the carpet had not been manufactured in Wales. 

Endorsing the use of the design would imply an endorsement of the business and make it hard to refuse permission to other commercial ventures, councillors decided.

They also agreed to seek further action as there was “a lack of respect for the Coat of Arms (being walked on and having furniture placed on it)”.

Commitment to Barry

Martin told the BBC the carpet was laid in “good faith” and it would be a waste of money to remove it now.

He continued: “This refurbishment has shown our commitment to the town, its residents and our employees.

“The crest was chosen because Wetherspoon, unlike many other pub operators, always likes to reflect the history of a town and that is what we have done in terms of the carpet, historical photos and information in the pubs.

“We think that [removing the carpet] is a waste of money, especially since the design of the carpet was chosen with the best of intentions.

“However, if an order is obtained from the Court of Chivalry, which is the correct legal process – this action has only been invoked once in the past 300 years, as we understand it – then we will be happy to comply with the order of the court.”

Barry Town Council was contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

Related topics: Legislation, JD Wetherspoon

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