Aberystwyth’s oldest family-run business is one step closer to reopening as it seeks to identify affordable options to reduce the volume of a noisy extractor fan which has drawn complaints.  

The much-loved Rheidol Café and Cakery on Cambrian Street - known for its iconic birthday cream cakes enjoyed by generations of residents - has been operating in the town for 51 years.  

But complaints to Ceredigion County Council from the owner of a neighbouring building forced the Aberystwyth institution to close its doors temporarily on Christmas Eve last year.  

But owner David Lees has provided an update on the café’s Facebook page, saying scaffolding can now go up to enable the noisy fan to be serviced, and any issues to be identified. It is still unclear whether the fan’s volume can be reduced and whether the café can reopen.  

Mr Lees - who took over running the bakery from his well-known father, Peter, five years ago – said: “Firstly, we wanted to apologise to everyone, when we closed Christmas Eve, we had plans of giving weekly or fortnightly updates, but I am not good at giving negative news.  

“Sadly, still nothing has been achieved since our last post. Last year we employed a sound engineer as instructed and since then as told we have been waiting for the landlord next door to take down his scaffolding down so we could put ours up.  

“The scaffolding has to go on his land, and this was agreed to start in January, sadly he didn’t take his scaffolding down until two weeks ago, six months later as planned.  

“We have had no feedback to say we can now start, and everything has gone quiet. Does this mean we can now put scaffolding on his land?” 

A post hours later said: “We have just been contacted by the landlord to tell us that we can put the scaffolding up.  

“Looking forward to finally putting it up and getting the answers we need and find out if and when we can re-open.” 

Mr Lees told the Cambrian News in December that the business cannot afford the legal fees if the case over the 40-year-old fan’s decibel levels goes to court.  

In late November, the county council’s environmental health team said the noise of the extractor would need be reduced dramatically from about 60 decibels to less than 30 by New Year’s Eve – meaning the family were afforded little more than a month to make it compliant.  

Mr Lees says the costs of paying for a silenced fan, moving the existing one or muffling it are likely to set the business back tens of thousands of pounds, which his family cannot afford.  

A GoFundMe page raised more than £3,000 which, along with £2,000 of Mr Lees’ own money, will pay for costly and now delayed assessments to be carried out on the extractor to examine all available options to bring it within compliant levels.  

Mr Lees admitted the chances of it reopening are slim without any support from the council or other grant funding.  

The bakery employed six members of staff - all students at Aberystwyth University - who are now thought to be out of the job.  

Ceredigion County Council told the Cambrian News in December it does not comment on individual cases.