Wells Palace move queried

07 February 2014

BISHOP'S PALACE, WELLS

Fit for a bishop: the moated Bishop's Palace at Wells

Fit for a bishop: the moated Bishop's Palace at Wells

OPPOSITION to the decision by the Church Commissioners to move the residence of the Bishop of Bath & Wells from the Palace in Wells will come to the General Synod next week, despite the warning by the Second Church Estates Commissioner that there would be "no review or reversal" (News, 31 January).

Tim Hind, the deputy chair of the House of Laity, who is from the diocese, has tabled a question to the chair of the Board of Governors of the Church Commissioners.

It reads: "Given that Bishop Peter Price announced on 5th November 2012 his intention to retire in June 2013 and the local outcry regarding the announcement that the new Bishop will not be housed in the Bishop's Palace in Wells, what is the Board of Governors doing to ensure that in future any such announcements are not made merely 12 days before the good news of the appointment of a new Bishop?"

On Tuesday, Mr Hind said that the Commissioners had "acted as judge and jury without consulting widely enough" and had appeared "to ride roughshod over process".

On Wednesday, the MP for Wells, Tessa Munt, launched a petition for presentation in the House of Commons and at the General Synod. It calls on the Commissioners "to pause . . . and to consult widely". She said that the new Bishop, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, and his wife had not been consulted.

Mrs Munt is also seeking a meeting with the Prime Minister, in his capacity as a Church Commissioner.

At the time of going to press, the petition had attracted more than 800 signatures.

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