Couple praised for community spirit and ‘preventing a disaster’
Richard Evans Local Democracy Reporter
A couple who run a pub have been praised for “preventing a disaster” after spotting a “huge crack” in a busy road that passes above a river.
Caroline and Richard Mason run the grade-two listed Crown Inn in the village of Llanfihangel Glyn Myfy in rural Conwy.
The Masons spotted a “huge crack” in the supporting structure of the B5105 passing over the River Alwen in February 2023 and notified Denbighshire County Council.
The councillor Gwennol Ellis contrasted the couple’s quick actions with Denbighshire Council which was “too slow to react” in her view. As a reader was quick to point out, however, the pub is actually located in Conwy and not Denbighshire.
Cllr Ellis said they didn’t immediately investigate the defect despite a 50-foot drop below the road and traffic, including school buses, still using the road.
She said the matter was then escalated before the council finally put traffic lights up for single-lane traffic, closing the damaged side of the road.
The whole section was eventually shut in September when more substantial work was carried out.
Caroline Mason explained how she spotted the huge crack which was hidden and only visible from a certain point in the road.
She said: “Richard and I were standing looking over the bridge and noticed a hole.
“It was on the roadside underneath the road. It was pretty obvious what was happening.
“There were big stones that had fallen out of it.
“Over the weeks it got progressively worse, so I did the online reporting thing and reported it to the council, but nothing happened, so I reported it again to the council, and nothing happened, so I rang them up, and they said it was in the system, but because of the nature of it and the school buses and double logging lorries still using the road, we were really concerned. So I contacted Cllr Gwennol.”
“The structural engineer immediately said it looked very dangerous, and the lights went up that day.”
She added: “The school buses come that way, and obviously that was our big concern as it was coming back from school full of children, and if the road had collapsed, it would be a sheer drop right into the river.”
Cllr Ellis has praised Richard and Caroline for their community spirit, saying a tragedy might have been avoided. “It could have been a disaster,” she said.
“Caroline and Richard reported it immediately, but I don’t think the matter was taken quite so seriously, so Caroline contacted me, and I informed the council it was an emergency.
“I reported it immediately, due to the panic I could hear in her voice due to the severity of what they deemed the situation to be.
“Council inspectors came up, and the road was closed immediately.
“Wagons and farm machinery travel daily on that road, and the weight of those vehicles coming down the hill could have meant the road giving way.
“The inspector indicated it was an emergency.”
She added: “School buses travel along that road, so it could have been disastrous, but that’s the worse case scenario.
“I think Caroline and Richard need some recognition for their community spirit.
“They’ve done a lot of people a favour. They are an extremely hard-working couple.
“They’ve made the Crown the hub of the community in Llanfihangel and organise many events for the community.
“I would like to commend them for their community spirit. Potentially it could have been a disaster.”
Cllr Ellis said the road is expected to reopen this weekend.
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