Bulldozers move in to flatten former 'Round Church'.
Byline: DAVE ROBSON email@example.com @Daverobson_gaz
GOING, going... gone.
After 47 years, a distinctive Redcar church building is no more.
Demolition teams have moved in to flatten St Hilda's Church on Mersey Road - known locally as the "Round Church" because of its design.
But while sad to see it go, the church community sees it as the start of a new era, with a new church set to be built on part of the same site.
Since a 1999 structural report pointed out major problems with the building, including water leaks and cracked walls, moving out has been inevitable.
Now a demolition team - appropriately enough from Holystone - has razed the old place to the ground.
The team moved in last week to remove the foundation stone, laid on September 27, 1969, and 15 rare Dalle-de-Verre glass pieces.
Then on Monday, December 11, demolition work began in earnest.
And very soon, only rubble and memories will remain.
Church warden Rob Nightingale admitted: "It is sad to lose it after 47 years but for us, a church is not a building, it's the people who use it.
"What we have hoped and prayed for is a new building and it looks like that will happen."
Mr Nightingale said the diocese has approved plans for a "phased" building programme, rather than rely on modular buildings - effectively a pre-fab building - until a new church is built.
"When we thought we'd have to go down the modular building route, people began to lose a bit of heart.
"The fact the diocese has given its blessing to go for the first phase is a relief to many and very welcome."
It's expected the first phase will cost up to PS350,000, to be funded by grants, fundraising and land sale proceeds. Planning permission has been granted for 25 homes on the part of the land being sold off. The new St Hilda's Church will be built upon a retained section of land, to the south-east of the site.
The distinctive St Hilda's Church is demolished to make way for a new church on the same site