ABERYSTWYTH’S oldest family-run business will be forced to close on Christmas Eve if a solution isn’t found to the noise of its extraction fan.

Rheidol Café and Cakery on Cambrian Street has been in business for 51 years, but a complaint from a neighbour over the level of sound its extractor fan makes will force the Aberystwyth institution to close its doors on Christmas Eve.

David Lees, who took over running the restaurant and café from his father, Peter, said the business cannot afford the legal fees if the case over the decibel levels of the bakery’s fans goes to court.

Speaking to the Cambrian News, Mr Lees said: “A neighbour has gone straight to the authorities and not raised the issue with us directly.

“The fan has always made the same noise, but according to environmental health, the level when he has his window open is too high.

“We don’t have the finances if the case goes to court and we need support and guidance to fix the problem.

“If someone in Aberystwyth can help us, we would love to hear from them.

“It’s been a lot of stress since environmental health first got in touch with is and it’s making my elderly father ill.

“The café is like his child. We are the last bakery in town and I did some research and we are the oldest family-run business in Aberystwyth.”

Rheidol Cafe
Rheidol Cafe has been run by the Lees family for 51 years (Cambrian News)

Mr Lees wrote an emotional post on the café’s Facebook page on Thursday evening which has been greeted with shock and sadness.

So much so, that Nia Gore has set up a GoFundMe page to help support the business, which has already raised £1,450.

Nia wrote: “I’ve always been a fan of rheidol restaurant and bakery, since I was a child, the ‘Rheidol birthday cake’ was priority at birthday time, as many other families had too.”

Mr Lees reacted to the fundraiser by saying he was humbled by the reaction his Facebook post has had.

He said: “People have been amazing. I’ve heard stories of people who have had Rheidol cakes for four generations.

“I want people to know that we want to fix this problem. We need guidance. Someone to help us out.

“We are trying to keep fan use to a minimum but we need it on to comply with health and safety.

“My father always tried to keep prices down and we do the same.”

In a post on the café’s Facebook page, Mr Lees wrote: “It is very emotional to write that unfortunately this Christmas could be the Rheidol’s last after 51 years.

Rheidol Cafe
The Rheidol Cafe cake is an Aberystwyth tradition (Rheidol Cafe)

“Over the last 3 years we have tried to keep our prices down to help and support the community as our Dad has done since he started.

“But like all small businesses, we have found it hard but this is not the major reason for closing.

“We have been in Cambrian street since 1986 since moving from Great Darkgate Street which was first open in 1972, and have never had any complaints about the sound of the fans extractor which we legally have to have on while anyone is working under the Health and Safety Act.

“Unfortunately, somebody has recently complained but rather than coming to us, where we would of wanted to help and work with them, they have directly gone to the local authorities and we have a limited time to sort out the noise.

“The problem being that the fan has always made the same noise and same noise levels and the advice we have had is that a new fan is needed which then also might lead to other complications, and it is impossible for us to get as we have used all our finances keeping the Rheidol going and alive during the recession and the covid pandemic.

“Also we don’t have the money for a solicitor and we can’t afford for it to go to court. “We have plans to put scaffolding up in the new year and in the meantime getting advice from a sound advisor but have been unsuccessful in getting a business loan and our only hope is grants and funding and hope for a miracle.

“Usually the only time of the year that the fans are on late is the week before Christmas, (apart from this year when the summer was extremely hot) as we are working on getting all the orders ready but because we have a time limit, that the fans are allowed to be on —Orders will be limited this year.

“We are definitely open every day excluding Mondays until Christmas Eve, so Please if you would like any Christmas orders, please can you order as soon as possible. But most of all we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone as without you the Rheidol wouldn’t be here after 51 years, we appreciate it so much. Diolch/Thank you xxx”

On Sunday, the Cafe wrote: “Thank you so much for everyone’s overwhelming support and messages, it means the world and back and so much more, we appreciate it so much. It’s been so amazing to hear your memories of the rheidol and what it means to you and your family and friends”

Ceredigion County Council has been approached for comment.

The GoFundMe page can be found here: www.gofundme.com/save-rheidol-restaurant-cakery