A ROMAN Catholic church which held its last mass in November 2017 has been demolished following the approval of a plan to build apartments on the site.

St Columba’s RC Church in Ripley Street, Hall i’ th’ Wood Street, closed in 2017 after Mass following a review of parish structures by the Diocese of Salford.

The consultation decided to merge the parishes of St John the Evangelist in Bromley Cross, St Brandon in Harwood and St Columba, forming the new parish of Corpus Christi, Bolton.

The demolition comes after plans were approved to build 24 “independent living” apartments, designed for the over-55s.

The plans were submitted by not-for-profit housing association Mosscare St Vincents, and drawn up by JDA Architects.

They said: “Extra Care housing is a growing response to the diverse needs and aspirations of an ageing population. It is often a more suitable housing alternative to residential care.”

However, an outpouring of support has come from a post about the demolition on the “I belong in Bolton” Facebook group.

The post from Margaret Fenemore said: “Another end of an era, St Columba's RC Church being demolished.”

The post has gathered over 300 comments and 100 shares since being posted at 3pm yesterday.

This includes pictures from weddings and of Mass inside the church.

Gillian McGowan commented: “Heartbreaking. Been involved with this beautiful church all my life. I was the wedding registrar there from 1988 up to it closing.”

David Yates also commented: “What a shame. Loads of family history there.”

Concerns were raised at the planning consultation over a lack of parking at the new site, but it was assured that there was enough.