A POPULAR landmark pub has announced its closure date to make way for the £460 million ‘missing link’ A417 upgrade.
The Air Balloon pub – which will be demolished – has been open in Birdlip for hundreds of years and will serve customers for the last time over Christmas.
A Facebook statement which was published on Friday (December 16) says the pub will close on December 31.
It reads: “As many of you will know, for a number of years now there has been talk of the new A417 highways plan, which would require the closure of our pub to make way for the new road.
“We have loved serving you all over the years but sadly the time has come where the pub will be closing in order to make way for the new road.
“Our final day will be New Year’s Eve, when we are closing at 5pm.
“As you will understand, this is a difficult time but we’re looking forward to giving everyone a last great Christmas with us to remember.
“We want to say thank you to everyone who has already messaged us or spoken to us to pass on their best wishes to all of the team.”
The pub originally opened in 1784 and is named after one of the first British balloon flights.
Local legend Dr Edward Jenner launched a small hydrogen balloon in September 1784 which flew from Berkeley Castle to Kingscote and then on to a field near Birdlip.
It was known as the Balloon by 1796 and renamed the Air Balloon in 1802.
The pub has been under threat of demolition as it sits alongside the busy A417 carriageway which is a notorious accident blackspot – from 1999 to 2014 there were an estimated 340 casualties.
In March 2019, Highways England proposed improvements that would include the demolition of the pub.
Often referred to as the ‘missing link’ scheme, the upgrade will include the widening of the single-carriageway stretch between Birdlip and Cowley.
The £460 million scheme was approved by Transport Secretary Huw Merriman on November 16.
When complete this will mean there will be dual carriageway linking the M4 to the M5.