Today, the Board of the Church Commissioners is meeting in private to discuss a range of financial matters. Tessa has been informed that the future residency of the Bishop of Bath and Wells in on the agenda.
Sir Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner, is rumoured to have written a note to the Board as he unable to attend. This is thought to give his ‘take’ on the ‘activities’ that have taken place both in Wells and Westminster following the Commissioners’ announcement of plans to remove the Bishop from the flat in the Palace in Wells.
“We’ve shown Sir Tony the private flat and gardens at the Bishop’s Palace, we’ve had a public meeting, we’ve heard the wise advice of the Diocese and the Palace Trust, we’ve delivered a petition which gathered over 2,000 signatures to the Church of England’s General Synod and to Parliament, Questions have been asked of the Church Commissioners and the Leader of the House of Commons in Parliament and at General Synod, I’ve raised this with the Speaker of the House of Commons and even questioned the Prime Minister on this matter.”
“Now the Board of the Church Commissioners is debating the issue behind closed doors, I’m hopeful that the Board Members will come to the only common-sense outcome possible.”
“Today, I am renewing my call, and those of over 2,000 others, for the Church Commissioners to pause, consult widely and rethink their proposal to remove the Bishop of Bath & Wells and his family from the accommodation in the Bishop’s Palace.”
“I am cautiously optimistic that a positive announcement will follow the Board’s meeting today. I am sure the Commissioners are aware that everyone who signed the petition, including me, will not lose interest in this and move on. That certainly isn’t going to happen!”
“I have written to seek permission from the Speaker of the House of Commons to hold an adjournment debate about this proposal. The Second Church Estates Commissioner, who answers for the Church Commissioners in Parliament, will then be obliged to answer my questions in the public domain, rather than behind closed doors.”
Local residents will be reassured that the campaign to keep the Bishops of Bath & Wells at home in the Palace as has been the case for over 800 years, continues.