AN OXFORD vicar is hoping to put his parishioners’ worries to rest over plans to renovate a Victorian church.

The Rev Tim Stead is vicar of Holy Trinity church in Headington Quarry and is looking at ways of adapting it for the needs of a modern congregation.

Some people have written to him expressing their worries about what might happen to the historic building.

He said: “A modern congregation is different to a Victorian one and it is much more social.

“Church life changes and that is why we are not the only parish that is exploring how we can change our building.

“We are exploring the possibility of a small extension on the north side of the church because we need room for meetings and we are looking into the possibility of removing one or two pews at the back of the building.”

But Mr Stead, 51, who has been vicar at the church for nearly five years, has received a letter from residents who are worried about the possibility of all the pews being removed.

Joyce Allen, of Green Road, wrote to the Oxford Mail to express her concerns about the removal of the pews and the relocation of the font, as well as the replacement of the old doors with modern glass ones – though this will not happen.

Mr Stead said: “We worked with an architect to explore some ideas and they included some radical ones but we have decided not to go with them.

“We are not planning on removing the vast majority of pews and we want to keep this church as it is. It is a very beautiful Victorian building, which we want to keep the look and feel of.”

He felt some parishioners had become concerned after seeing some of the more radical plans that had been drawn up.

The Anglican church was consecrated in 1849 after being built by eminent Victorian architect George Gilbert Scott.

It features a Narnia window near the pew where author CS Lewis sat and worshipped while he lived in Risinghurst. Work could begin on the church early next year.