WETHERSPOON boss Tim Martin has spoken about the dispute over the use of the Barry Town crest in the pub ahead of a meeting with councillors.

Mr Martin visited the J.D. Wetherspoon, Sir Samuel Romilly, in Broad Street, Barry, where he spoke to staff and customers and viewed the special-designed carpet on Monday, January 20.

In October last year, Mr Martin rejected Barry Town Council’s (BTC) instruction to remove the mat which had been installed as part of the £715,000 refurbishment of the Sir Samuel Romilly.

Barry Town councillors unanimously voted to request the mat - featuring the town’s coat of arms – be “removed as soon as practically possible” at its full council meeting on Monday July 22, 2019.

BTC said would take legal advice on whether it would approach the Court of Chivalry, which was established in the 14th century, to settle coat of arms disputes.

The court last sat in 1954.

Speaking exclusively to The Barry & District News, Mr Martin said it was not his first time he had visited Barry and that he tried to visit the venue at least once a year, but certainly every 18 months.

He said: “There’s been a bit of argy-bargy over the carpet in the pub and we have had correspondence with the council.

“I think one of our legal directors has been down to see them.

“He had a meeting with them and they asked if I could go along - quite possibly because they think they weren’t getting anywhere with him, I don’t know.

“I will have to see how it (the meeting) goes.”

Mr Martin said the carpet issue first came to his attention when someone had commented on the chain’s employment policies, incorrectly and unjustified in his view.

“That’s when it came to my knowledge,” he said.

“I had a chat with the local area manager and thought things had got slightly out of hand for one reason and another.

“We’ve had quite a bit of publicity with our carpets over the years which are based on trying to find a local connection with the area.

“We are a chain of pubs, but I think pubs need to find an authenticity and we try to restore the buildings in-keeping with the original building if we can and to include history of the area and the building.

“We also try to use some local art work and I think it’s just an extension of that.

“We have unique carpets and the designer, looking at Barry, came up with the idea of the Barry crest.

“It’s a shame.

“We were only trying to do something good for the area and for the business.

“It’s not good to annoy local opinion in your design.

“I think it’s a question of trying to balance the strong feeling of our customers who overwhelmingly say we should keep the carpet.

“I think people feel there’s been a bit of showboating by one or two councillors and it’s resulted in unnecessary and unjustified criticism of Wetherspoon.

“I thought the carpet covered the whole pub, but it’s only a small area.

"It's slightly surreal that if you take the carpet out we would annoy our customers.

"They (BTC) have asked me to come down so I've got to hear what they have got to say.

"They may have been voted in, but I have the majority of the people.

"The response has been fantastic - people have been very supportive.

"It's one of those things where people are entitled to have their view.

"We put it in with good intentions.

"We could take it out when it's worn out.

"I don't think there's an easy answer."

Mr Martin added: “I’ve rarely gone into a meeting with less of a plan.

“There’s a and song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – there ‘aint no easy way out.

“But he wasn’t talking about carpets.”

Mr Martin met Barry Town Council following his pub visit.