We have been thinking hard about how to respond to the objections to our refurbishment scheme and what we can do to move forwards. We have reluctantly come to the conclusion that if we do not agree to retain the rearmost three rows of pews then the refurbishment simply will not happen.
In that case our remaining options are ‘managed decline’ – the status quo – or to seek new premises. Neither of these is an attractive option. Despite the difficulties that our building presents, it is a real asset to our ministry. Not every church has its own car parking, or even a church hall. And our location is ideally placed to serve the new housing developments on the east side of the village.
Retaining the rear pews effectively takes out of use the space below the balcony. We’ve looked at the possibility of somehow using the pews for storage, although there would not be enough space between them for stacking chairs.
In the end though we have made the decision to retain the pews as required by the LBAC and make the most of the remaining space. It is always possible sometime in the future that we can make the case for their ultimate removal on the ground that our need for the space they occupy outweighs their historical significance. But that is a battle for another day.
Regarding the TV screen, we are going to argue the case for the single, central, screen. Using two screens instead of one would not allow us to reduce their size, because we need text to be legible from the back of the chapel. And we don’t want people looking in two different directions.