PEOPLE in Chelmsford believe Britain is no longer a Christian country, a Weekly News poll has revealed.

A total of 56 per cent – 341 votes – said they did not feel Britain was a Christian country any more.

Just 26 per cent (156) said they thought Britain was still Christian.

Seven per cent (42) said they didn’t care either way, while two per cent (15) said they were unsure.

Peter Balls, pastor at Chelmsford Community Church, said: “It is all about personal choice.

“There was only one choice for me, but we are in a very open country where there is a big sense of freedom, so I’m not going to go banging a drum telling people what to believe in.”

Ayman Syed, general secretary of the Jamia Masjid mosque, in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, said: “In some ways it is quite sad to see as it shows how religious celebrations like Christmas and Easter have stopped being about faith.

"On the other side, it shows how more diverse Britain has become.”

Kenneth Greenway, membership secretary of the Essex Humanists, who lives in South Woodham Ferrers, said: “It shows how much more diverse we are and that can only make for a fairer society.”