ATOMIC weapons bosses have had a former Tadley pub demolished.

AWE Aldermaston spokeswoman Rachel Whybrow said that the company had demolished The Falcon in Burghfield Road to help with traffic access to the nuclear weapons site.

She said: “The Ministry of Defence has negotiated the purchase of the former Falcon pub site in Tadley to improve site security and traffic access at AWE Aldermaston.

“Formal discussions on road works to allow improved traffic flows and better access to AWE car parks will be held with West Berkshire Council. The proposed scheme will minimise the need for vehicle movement on the AWE site and should help to reduce the congestion on the nearby main road.”

A former landlady of the once-thriving pub, who was born on the premises, said she was sorry to see the establishment disappear.

Margaret Sparkes and her husband Bernard were licensees at The Falcon between 1968 and 1984.

Mrs Sparkes said: “I remember it in its heyday and it was very emotional for me to realise that it’s now gone forever. It used to be right at the heart of the community “We ran The Falcon for 17 years and it was a very happy time for us. It went downhill years later, but I’ll always have fond memories of our time there.”

The pub shut its doors in early 2009 and had fallen into a state of disrepair. In recent years the pub had struggled. One of the succession of managers even resorted to strippers on Sundays in a bid to attract drinkers to the venue.

But Mr and Mrs Sparkes, who now live in Silchester Road, remember The Falcon in its glory days.

The pub holds especially fond memories for Mrs Sparkes who was born there when her parents ran the pub in the 1930s.

The pensioner admitted to breaking down in tears when she saw the rubble of her former home and workplace.

“I was upset when I learned that it had gone downhill so much after we left, but it seems very final now. It would have been nice to see it return to being a great pub once more.”