Bishop of Coventry Christopher Cocksworth has announced that the Diocese of Coventry will be proceeding with a plan to sell Offa House in Offchurch after deciding not to try to use it as short-term accommodation for refugees or asylum seekers.
Offchurch villagers were told in the summer that three options were being explored for the site, which was used as a diocesan retreat house until it closed in March 2013.
These options were to seek a sustainable plan to re-open Offa House as a retreat house, to work in partnership with another Christian charity or to commission preparatory work for the property’s sale.
And this week Bishop Christopher announced that, “with a heavy heart”, the latter option was now being taken by he and his council.
He said: “Bishop Christopher said: “I know that this decision will be met with disappointment and sadness.
“Offa House holds a very special place in the hearts of many people in the village of Offchurch and hundreds of people across the whole Diocese of Coventry and beyond.
“It is always hard to let go of a much loved friend.
“The members of my council also shared these feelings when making their decision.
One of hardest things for those charged with leadership and governance is saying ‘no’ to good ideas.
The re-opening of Offa House was indeed a good idea, but after much discussion, my Council finally decided that it was not the best strategic use of our limited resources.
I am extremely grateful to the Johnson family who donated a house on School Hill and funds to enable the former Vicarage to become the Diocesan Retreat House.
It has been such a wonderful asset that has benefited thousands of people in Warwickshire and Coventry over several decades.”
Any significant developments regarding the sale of Offa House will be published on the diocesan website at www.dioceseofcoventry.org/offaFAQ