CONTROVERSIAL plans to replace traditional pews with chairs in two Evesham churches have moved forward.

An exhibition displaying various designs was held at the 12th century All Saints Church in Evesham last week giving parishioners the chance to see what is on offer.

Reverend Andrew Spurr said although a final decision would not be made by the parochial church council until spring, the exhibition was a “wonderful opportunity” to see what was available to replace the old pews.

He said: “It is a very exciting project because it allows us to change the space in which we worship. Chairs allow different seating arrangements suited to services where people are engaged and participate. There were many good designs but we are nowhere near deciding which to go for.”

But some parishioners are unhappy. One churchgoer said she was “dismayed” at the movement to modernise churches and do away with “beautiful artefacts because they are now considered irrelevant”.

She added: “All Saints attracts a steady stream of tourists and the visitors’ book bears witness to how much the building and its contents are appreciated.”

Meanwhile, St Andrew’s Church in Hampton is also opting for chairs in place of pews but has not faced the same level of opposition.

As part of the modernisation, a new building will be built with toilet facilities nearby, a digital organ installed, and an upper floor created in the north transept.