It is the one piece of “red tape” a city business is keen to keep.
Park House restaurant owner Adam Pledger temporarily erected a 65-ft red bow across the front of his business, on Park Place, in a bid to attract new customers.
But the businessman was outraged when Cardiff council ordered him to remove the ribbon from the 19th-century building, and allegedly threatened him with legal action.
The furious 34-year-old says the action shows how Cardiff council is stifling business in the capital in tough economic times.
But Cardiff council said the temporary ribbon required listed building consent to be erected and the restaurant had failed to apply for permission.
Mr Pledger, of Penylan, Cardiff, said: “The council should be there to help businesses – not hinder them. They should be standing aside and letting businesses get on with it. It’s just red tape and bureaucracy.”
The ribbon was placed across the front of the Park House bar and restaurant about six weeks ago.
Mr Pledger said: “The purpose of it was to show that we are open to the public. It was to try to advertise a building that many people just walk past and make people instead take a second look.”
He claimed that after initially asking him to take down the bow, the council then issued a letter threatening legal action if the ribbon was not removed.
The businessman, who has operated the Park House restaurant for the past seven years, said the temporary ribbon would be removed later this month.
He said: “It’s not a permanent structure – it’s just to try to generate some interest. Far from complaints, I have got people who have events on next year asking if we can put it back up for them.”
Mr Pledger maintained that the ribbon structure had caused no damage to the Grade I listed building, which was designed by renowned architect William Burges and constructed in 1874.
He said the ribbon was erected by “a specialised company that have a proven track record of putting these structures up on old buildings”.
A Cardiff council spokeswoman, said: “Park House is a grade I listed building designed by one of the greatest of the Victorian-art architects, William Burges. It was listed by Cadw for its historic and architectural value in 1966 and is probably one of the most important 19th-century houses in Wales.
“Any alterations to a listed building will require listed-building consent and where the appropriate consent has not been granted the alterations are deemed illegal.
“In this particular instance, a council officer met with the owner of Park House on May 4 to discuss the ribbon and were assured by the owner that the ribbon would be removed on or before May 18. Unfortunately, the owner has failed to remove the ribbon as previously agreed and has also added an advertisement to the front elevation of the property.”