The minister of Falmouth Methodist Church has spoken more about the decision to sell the building and find a new home.

The news was revealed yesterday, causing great sadness in the community.

The church on Killigrew Street, across from The Moor, has been the venue for numerous weddings, funerals and events over the years, with the original building on the site dating back to 1791. This was followed by a further building in 1837, with the basis of the existing building completed in 1876, before major reconstruction during the Second World War after it was bombed.

Yesterday though it was announced in a post on Facebook that "with considerable sadness, but with unanimity" the Church Council had agreed that the problems with the chapel roof were "beyond us" and that the church should look to move out of the current building and sell it.

The roof was damaged in gale back in 2008, which also revealed other repairs that needed to be done.

However, Superintendent Minister Rev Andrew Mumford told the Packet that in addition to the half a million pounds needs to repair the roof, there was an estimated £1 million needed to make the building fit for purpose.

In a letter to church members, Rev Mumford said: "Recently, the quotes for replacing the roof came in, and they were far above all our expectations. It would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to do the work, money that we just haven’t got, in a time when grants are very difficult to come by. Currently we have about £36,000 in our Regeneration Fund.

"If we did somehow find the necessary money, we would still be left with an unsuitable building, needing the best part of another £1 million spending on it."

He explained to the Packet: "Our location is brilliant in some respects, being in the town centre, but it has lots of shortcomings – parking being one, accessibility is another."

The time period on moving out is not known until a surveyor has been, but Rev Mumford said all at the church were "adamant" that Falmouth Methodist Church as a body was still going to exist, saying: "We are not closing; we are relocating."

Decisions over a new home also still have to be made.

He said the church could not afford to rebuild, so the only way to stay on the same site with a new building would be for a developer to be willing to take on the building, and let them have part of it for a church.

"This has happened elsewhere, but the reality is that town centres are not the place they once were, and this is unlikely to be a viable option. It will not be dismissed, though, at this stage.

"We should remember that our church building is in a Conservation Area, so that might have implications for any new build on this site," he added.

Rev Mumford said there was sadness but also a sense that a weight had been lifted by the decision, explaining: "People are sad about it, because some have been there all their lives. But the other I'm picking up on strongly from people is a sense of relief - that it's almost putting down a burden and saying 'Let's move on from this'."

According to the Falmouth Methodist Church website, the first Methodist chapel on the present site opened in 1791, described as a simple building with plenty of space, followed by a further building in 1837.

The basis of the present building was completed in 1876, with a seating capacity of 1,400 – one of the largest in Cornwall – and cost £6,000. The new Falmouth Circuit was formed in 1932.

The church suffered bomb damage twice during the war, on October 9, 1940 and again on May 13, 1941.

According to the website the shell of the building remained intact but the inside was very badly damaged and on the first occasion several lives were lost. The congregation moved to Berkley Vale Methodist for ten years whilst the Central Methodist was being renovated. The cost of this was £44,000 and the reconstructed church was dedicated by Rev Leslie Weatherhead, President of the Methodist Conference, on March 14, 1956.

The church changed its name in 1979 to Falmouth Methodist Church when Pike’s Hill was closed, and a new joint society was formed.

Since then the church became part of the newly formed Falmouth and Gwennap Circuit in 2008 and in the same year the pews from the main body of the church were removed to enable more flexibility.