A DERELICT 19th century church in Maindee, Newport, is in the process of being demolished to make way for 14 new affordable homes.

St Matthews Church, which was in Church Road, closed in 2014 after it was deemed unsafe as a result of dry rot.

The-then vicar of Maindee, Reverend Canon David Neale, told the Argus that the cost of repairing St Matthew’s Church floor would have been around half a million pounds.

Newport City Council’s planning committee previously gave the green light to plans to knock the building down and replace it with a three-storey block containing seven two-bedroom flats and another seven with one bedroom in 2016.

Geraint Roberts, who is a planning officer, previously said: “The church itself is a fairly attractive building in a fairly mundane street in all fairness. he said.

“But it’s not protected so it can be demolished without recourse.”

South Wales Argus:

Jeff Donovan

Roy Small, who used to live in Pill and is a churchgoer, said he was “sad” to see the building “disappear”.

“My mam used to go to St Matthews Church,” said Mr Small.

“The congregation were close to one another and there was a community spirit.

“Everyone was devastated when it closed but now that the building is going is even more upsetting.

“I wanted the church to still be used as a community centre.”

He added: “Church Street won’t be the same without the church.”

Kelsie James, 23, who lives on in Alexandra Road, said she used to take her toddler to the church.

“We belonged to lots of groups which used the building,” said Miss James.

“We used to go about once or twice a week and my daughter loved going.

“Part of me is upset that the church has gone because I know a lot of people used it.

“I have happy memories there and now that it’s been knocked down I think that’s important.”

However Dawn Poole is “relieved” to see the site be put to “good use”.

The 44-year-old teacher said: “I’ve seen on Facebook that people are very annoyed at the church being torn down.

“I think doing something with the land is terrific.

“People forget that the building was a wreck and you couldn’t just leave it as it was.

“Housing is needed all over Wales and to use the ground for this is common sense.”

She added: “I can totally understand why people cared for the church, like me, but the available land needed to be used for something.”