Gloucestershire: picture perfect pub to make way for dual carriageway

The Air Balloon pub in Gloucestershire covered in snow

The quaint pub in Birdlip, Gloucestershire has been serving the people for more than 220 years (Image: The Air Balloon/Facebook)

A historic pub at a notorious accident black spot is torn down after more than 220 years.

The balloon makes way for a ‘safer’ dual carriageway alongside the A417 in Gloucestershire.

Plans to change the roundabout where the pub is located were finally approved in November after decades of talks.

But the £460m upgrade scheme means it’s curtain call for the popular pub in Birdlip, believed to have opened in 1784.

The last pint will be on tap at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, employees said in an emotional post on Facebook.

It prompted a spate of tributes from punters, including the wife of the late actor John Challis.

Carol Challis tweeted: “Goodbye to the Air Balloon or Air ‘alloon as John called it after the B fell off for a year.

Fireplace at the Air Balloon Pub in Gloucestershire

The balloon was well used to warming up thirsty locals by the fire (Image: The Balloon/Facebook)

“Finally, a new road is to be built, but for this the pub has to be demolished. We passed it hundreds of times on our way to London. Progress? Sad news.’

The pub was named Air Balloon because the area was a popular hot air balloon launch site in the 1780s.

It is at a roundabout linking Gloucester with Cirencester, Swindon and Oxford.

The crossing gained a reputation for accidents over the years, prompting calls for an upgrade.

The new “Missing Link” project will bypass the Air Balloon Roundabout to improve traffic flow.

The Air Balloon pub in Gloucestershire covered in snow

The air balloon dates back to the 18th century (Image: The Air Balloon/Facebook)

Two additional lanes are added and the grade near Crickley Hill is reduced from 10% to 8%.

Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told the BBC the decision was “fantastic news” when it was announced.

He said: “It will bring growth and investment to Gloucestershire, more jobs, less environmental damage from standing cars and it will improve safety.”

The Air Balloon said online: “We have loved serving you all these years but unfortunately the time has come when the pub is closing to make way for the new road.

“As you will understand, this is a difficult time but we look forward to helping everyone have one last great Christmas to remember.”

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Justin Scacco

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