The controversial change at a Sheffield church that has got people talking 

Plans to replace pews with comfy chairs at a Sheffield church have been welcomed by Star readers.

Christ Church in Heeley had applied for permission to overhaul the interior of the Grade II-listed building including replacing the pews with comfy chairs, to make it better suited for modern uses.

Christ Church in Heeley.

Christ Church in Heeley.

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But the Victorian Society objected to the loss of the 19th century pews, which it claimed contributed to the church’s ‘character and appearance’, and also opposed plans to carpet much of the floor.

However, the Church of England’s Consistory Court has now ruled the £290,000 makeover can go ahead in full.

The move has been welcomed by Star readers, many of whom took to Facebook to make their feelings known.  

Bob Evans said: “The church building will be restored beautifully and the whole space made available to mid-week community groups for all kinds of purposes at the lowest possible cost. Pews prevent such flexible use.”

Lauren Baldwin added that it “allows the church to be more of a community - open it up and allow the church to hold more activities, with pews you are limited in what you can do - my old church went through this, we replaced the pews with comfier chairs and also modern technology and heating and they now have a great building that holds many social and community events.”

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Hazel Kennedy posted: “I think it depends on whether it takes away the character of the building if it’s old and I think these have to be retained.

“If not, then why not? People might as well be comfortable.”  

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Work will include moving the oak pulpit, underfloor heating and a new lighting and audio-visual system and creating a crèche area.

Sarah Spear, deputy chancellor of the Diocese of Sheffield, wrote in her ruling that the benefit of having comfortable seating “outweighs any small aesthetic advantage.”