THE end of an era has been hailed as the bulldozers have moved in to demolish the former Carmelite Monastery building.

The historic Eccleston building, which has been a central part of religious life in the town, is to make way for 12 luxury four and five-bedroomed homes to be built on the site by Jones Homes.

A Star reader sent a photograph while the bulldozers were flattening the historic building.

The reader remarked that the demolition signified the “end of an era”.

The former nuns’ convent on Green Lane closed in 2015 causing great sadness across the town’s Catholic communities as it brought an end to a mission which had lasted for more than 100 years in St Helens.

The Carmelite Sisters first came to the town in 1914, originally settling in Springfield Hall.

The community was an established feature of Catholic life in the town, known as a haven of prayer, piety and peace.

The plans involved the demolition of all existing buildings except for the gate lodge, and the building of a dozen detached family houses, together with alterations to the boundary wall and the creation of new vehicle access of Howards Lane.

Jones Homes had submitted the plans in January 2017 and permission was granted unanimously by the local authority’s planning committee in May last year.

The plans said the development has the potential to “significantly contribute to the local economy” and will create 50 construction jobs.

At the committee meeting, councillors said they were glad to see the “character” of the site would be retained despite the development and expressed sadness for the loss of the iconic building.

Committee member Cllr Steve Glover said in the meeting: “Eccleston residents have retained the character of it and it is part of Old Eccleston so I’m very happy to see the cottage and high walls are still (going to be) there.”