A bar owner caught up in an “absolute nightmare” of a licensing process with Caerphilly County Borough Council says the ordeal has left him on the verge of shutting the business.

Gareth Jones, who co-owns The Unit on Bedwas House Industrial Estate, said months of disputes with various council departments – and allegations of conflicting advice – have caused him sleepless nights and left him feeling like efforts to meet licensing standards were never going to be good enough.

The Unit has announced its imminent closure following the series of “challenges” – but a senior councillor suggested there are hopes proposed last-ditch crisis talks could be enough to settle the dispute.

The Unit, formerly known as Keds Cafe Bar, applied for a new premises licence that would have allowed drinking in a larger part of the premises and for slightly different hours of alcohol sales.

But at a Caerphilly Council licensing committee meeting on June 11, members heard a police officer objected to the application for later drinking hours because he was “not confident in the management of the premises”.

A council environmental health officer shared those concerns – to the dismay of another of The Unit’s co-owner, Gareth Kedward, who believed he had a “verbal agreement” with the authorities in support of his proposals.

The committee later ruled it would approve the changed layout of The Unit as well as the removal of some licensing conditions, but members decided to refuse the venue’s bid for additional alcohol sales hours.

The fallout from that decision, and from Mr Kedward’s claims the police and council had “backtracked” on a verbal deal, means The Unit is now expected to close at the end of June.

In a post shared on Facebook, the venue said “with the heaviest of hearts” it will be “closing the door on the unit at the end of the month, after fighting the local authorities for months”.

The business, which employs around a dozen people, alleged “the council have given us challenges after challenges” and “nothing seems to be good enough for them”.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), Mr Jones said he felt the council was “against us” during the licensing process.

“They tell us one thing and it’s [considered] wrong by another,” he said. “It’s just a nightmare.

“We ask what we can do to put it right, and they [council officers] say ‘we can’t tell you.’”

Mr Jones said the licensing application didn’t draw any objections from members of the public, and “the community wants it open”.

“We want to try and bring something to Caerphilly,” he added. “What more do they want us to do? We’re absolutely devastated – it’s really not fair.”

Following The Unit’s closure announcement, Cllr Jamie Pritchard, the cabinet member for regeneration, told the LDRS he was working with the owners to try and resolve the dispute.

He said: “When I was contacted by residents over this application I made enquiries with the owners of The Unit straight away. 

“A multi-agency meeting is being sought to see whether the original objections raised by the police can be overcome by looking at things afresh. 

“I’m keen to get around a table to discuss matters and would reiterate the desire from this council to work closely with local businesses in our communities.”

A council spokesman confirmed officers are open to meeting with the owners to “discuss their respective positions”, but said any talks “will not impact” the licensing committee’s decision – which is open to appeal.

“The correct application process has been followed in this matter,” the council spokesman added.