A petition to prevent the closure of ‘Coffi Vista’ café and ‘Y Galeri Caerffili’ in Caerphilly is gaining support after the local council have given notice to close its doors.

Hundreds have shown their support for the Welsh visitor centre, which houses popular café 'Coffi Vista', art gallery 'Y Galeri Caerffili' and information centre.

The owner of 'Y Galeri Caerffili' since 2021, Karen Evans spoke to the Argus and said she was “devastated” at the news.

Ms Evans said, “it’s all up in the air, nothing has been finalised just yet” but she said the upstairs café could shut its doors as soon as April.

As a Welsh speaker, Ms Evans said the café and gallery play a bigger role in the culture of Caerphilly.

“My heart and soul has gone into it for the last two years.

"I host workshops, work with a range of groups including women’s groups and promote the Welsh language.

"My own art work and the work of local artists are also displayed in the gallery”.

South Wales Argus: Petition to stop Caerphilly Council closing popular Coffee Vista, Y Galleri and public conveniencesPetition to stop Caerphilly Council closing popular Coffee Vista, Y Galleri and public conveniences (Image: Change.org)

Ms Evans says this is the key to showing locals and foreign visitors what Wales and Caerphilly have to offer.

“People come, not just for the art, but for a chat and to be inspired,” said Ms Evans.

“It’s upsetting to think I’ve been there for two years now and had the support from the local council and councillors at the beginning.

South Wales Argus: Y Galeri Caerffili pictured underneat Coffi Vista cafeY Galeri Caerffili pictured underneat Coffi Vista cafe (Image: Karen Evans)

A spokesperson for Caerphilly County Borough Council has said:

“The council is facing a budget shortfall of around £55 million over the next two years, so it is clear that we will need to make a number of difficult decisions in order to meet this significant financial challenge.

"A list of proposed budget savings will be announced over the coming weeks and these will be subject to a period of public consultation before the 2024/25 budget is agreed at the end of February.

"The council has a duty to protect the public purse and will be looking at a range of savings options, particularly services that are subject to high subsidy, are non-statutory or can be delivered in a different way.

"We would encourage the community to have their say at the appropriate time”.

Leader of Plaid Cymru Caerphilly Group, Councillor Lindsay Whittle, has condemned the closure.

South Wales Argus: Councillor Lindsay WhittleCouncillor Lindsay Whittle (Image: Caerphilly County Borough Council)

"I’m staggered at this decision and the way it has been handled," said Cllr Whittle.

"They tell the staff it is closing and then propose to go through a fake consultation exercise only to confirm the original decision.

"There has been no discussion by the council, no Cabinet report to scrutiny committee and, frankly, it smacks of a Putin-style government. This Labour council is an absolute disgrace". 

"It would be a major blow to the town and rip the heart out of Caerphilly".

Cllr Whittle said Caerphilly has lost other landmarks such as The Armoury, the Clive Hotel, and the old cobbler's cottage and wonders, "Is there no Labour councillor that values our history?"

Ms Evans has said:

South Wales Argus: Inside Y Galeri CaerffiliInside Y Galeri Caerffili (Image: Karen Evans)

"It’s not just a gallery but I have a love for the Welsh language. Nowhere else in Caerphilly has this Welsh vibe”.

Local residents and international visitors to the café and gallery have shown their support in any way they can.

One visitor from Maryland USA said: "It was our time in Coffi Vista that let us spend time together as a family and it was Karen at Y Galeri who made us have a personal connection with your town.

"Not only did we buy some small pieces of her work, but she guided us to other shops around town".

Cllr Whittle has launched a campaign to save the visitor centre, with the slogan "Rydw I’n Hoffi Coffi", and is organising a rally at the site on Saturday, January 13 at 10.30am.

Find the petition here: https://bit.ly/3HaVklP