AN historic shop which was forced to shut after 151 years in business is set to be reborn as a restaurant with the same name.

Forest planners have approved the change of use for the former Bolter’s sweet shop, tobacconist and barbers, which was run by the same family in the centre of Coleford for more than a century and a half until its closure two years ago.

And Sandra Scotford, who worked there for 38 years, says she and former owner Pat Bolter, 81, are “absolutely delighted” that his family name will continue over the premises.

Sited at 3, Market Place, Bolter’s was one of the oldest shops in the country, dating all the way back to 1866, and the building still retains its 19th century shop frontage.

And the name will now continue, with the Grade II-listed three-storey building beside the Clock Tower to be reopened as Bolter’s micro-bar and restaurant.

Pat, who now lives in a local care home, was born ‘above the shop’ in the 18th century property and spent virtually his whole life there.

And Sandra said: “He was quite emotional and holding my hand when I told him the family name would continue. It made him very happy.

“By naming the new business Bolter’s, it will keep a fantastic tradition going in the town and Pat is really pleased that it is local people who will be running it.

“It pays real respect to Pat, his father and his grandfather and a century and a half of history.”

Sandra plans to meet the people behind the new scheme soon, who have told her they have made some interesting discoveries while renovating the premises.

Conservation adviser David Haigh backed the planning application from local builder Mike Etheridge Construction after amendments to the original scheme, and the council granted listed building consent for changes to the building, which lies in the town’s conservation area,

The ‘sad decision’ to close the Bolter’s shop was taken in March 2017 after ill health had forced owner Pat to move into a care home

Founded in 1866 when Queen Victoria was in the middle of her 64-year reign, the town centre business had been run by three generations of his family, and at the time of its closure still had traditional shop signage echoing times past.

The business was originally launched on the other side of Market Place where Lloyds Bank is now based before moving in the early 1900s to Market Place.

Sandra said when she shut the shop for the final time: “It’s very sad, but it’s time to close.

“I’ve cried my heart out these last few weeks, but Patrick lost his second leg last year and we need to pay for his care, so we’ve had to take the decision to close up and sell the building.

“I’ve spent all of my adult life working here, and it’s been such a part of the town’s history… it has so many memories.”

Founded by Patrick’s granddad Thomas Bol­ter senior 151 years ago as a tobacconist and barbers, it later moved across the square after the old building was sold for £1,000 and the new one bought for half the price.

His son, Patrick’s father Thomas Bolter junior, then ran the store with his wife.

“They had Pat quite late in life, and he was helping out in the store as soon as he could walk,” said Mrs Scotford.

“And Pat kept that old world charm right the way through, by only serving sweets out of traditional jars, and forget grams, it was ounces measured up on old scales, and penny chews.

“He sold real hand-rolled tobacco, and insisted on smoking a pipe in the shop, even when they changed the rules.

“A policeman came in and said ‘you can’t do that anymore, Pat’ but he told him to read up on his law, tobacconists were exempt. “I’m going to keep on smoking my pipe,” he said.

“And Pat was still cutting hair until two years ago, with four regular customers in their 80s refusing to let anyone else do it.

“That was despite losing his first leg 12 years ago, as a blacksmith customer built him a frame to lean on so he could keep barbering.”

Mrs Scotford added: “He never fell out with anyone, he was a perfect gentleman.

“And there was nothing he didn’t know about Coleford, and he had an opinion on everything to share with customers.

“If the flag came down on the Clock Tower, he was straight on the phone to the council,” she said.

“And for me personally, Patrick was a like a granddad to my two children Jade and Lee, taking them off to steam and bus shows. A part of old Coleford will go when we sell up.”