Church can keep comfortable chairs even though heritage groups say they are

first_imgA church has won a battle to keep its new comfortable chairs despite the objections of heritage groups who say they are “cheap” and “dumpy”. St Nicholas Church in Fundenhall illegally spent £3,053 on 50 “crude” chairs which are made of brown faux leather with brushed gold-coloured frames, last September. The church council had been allowed to remove the church’s pews as part of a much-needed refurbishment, but did not have permission to buy the chairs.Now it has been allowed to keep them for ten years after a church court found that it would take too long to fundraise for new ones.The Victorian Society criticised the decision, saying the court had enabled “unjustified harm to historic churches”.  Objecting to the new chairs, the Society said they were similar to those used as a “banqueting chair in marquees”. It added: “The design of the frame is crude, with the extruded aluminium sections lacking any elegance, and the simple large radius curves of the design having a child-like quality.  The pews before they were removed “The thick upholstered seat pads, and the way in which they curve down at the front of the seat, make the chairs appear very dumpy.”The matt-‘gold effect’ finish is a cheap one in a church with a palette of high-quality natural materials.” The pews before they were removedCredit:Victorian Societycenter_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. In her judgment the Chancellor of the Diocese of Norwich, Ruth Arlow, said she had learned of the church’s decision to buy the chairs with “concern and disappointment”. But she said parishioners “like their appearance and the comfort that they afford” and had made an effort to choose chairs of “high durability and wipe-clean finish of an appropriate shade”. She also praised the work of the council in repairing the church and said it had been on the brink of ruin before the refurbishment took place.Following the ruling the Society said it would have appealed the result but for the “excellent work” done by the parish in rescuing the church.Director Christopher Costelloe told the Telegraph: “This is not the first occasion in we have intervened in a case in which the parish has ignored court rules, and the response of the church court has been to allow them to get away with it.  “The legal reasoning in the judgment for accepting the parish’s damaging choice of chair seems gossamer-thin.”last_img

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