In March 2020, Bishop Woodford House (Ely Diocesan Board of Finance - "the EDBF" ) staff office and Bishop Woodford House Retreat and Conference Centre were closed for all but essential staff access. In July 2020, it was announced that the Bishop Woodford House Retreat and Conference Centre was to be closed permanently, and was subsequently rented to a third party. The Diocesan office is now reopened for EDBF staff.
At Bishop’s Council on 22 May 2021 a draft paper was presented for consideration by Members of Council which introduced the accommodation requirements for the Ely Diocesan Board of Finance (“Bishop Woodford House”).
Council members were invited to; 1. Note the paper, 2. Confirm permission for Officers to continue discussions with landowners to establish the possibility of securing alternative accommodation in the city, 3. Agree to consider a Report of discussions and a recommendation at a future meeting of the Bishop’s Council.
Agreed Decision and Next Steps
At Bishop’s Council on 15 September 2021, this Report was presented and discussed.
With the full prior support of the Finance Committee, the preferred option presented (agreed through three separate votes) was unanimously supported by Council members, with approval for commencement of the following activities with immediate effect.
- Negotiations to commence for the acquisition of the preferred option, which will see the relocation of the EDBF office to a newly built and wholly owned premises at the Lancaster Way Business Park - https://www.grovemere.com/.
- Bishop’s Council approved the continuation of negotiations to rent Bishop Woodford House (the Diocesan office) to a third party, which will include negotiations for the provision for a small ‘drop-in’ office for staff on the current site, to support business continuity in the short to medium term.
- Bishop’s Council agreed to the formation of a sub-committee of the Finance Committee to provide dedicated governance of the Project.
Following this agreement to proceed, the Project Team has now commenced the detailed work required, with support from expert external partners, to deliver this work.
The Project Team will report its progress into a dedicated Finance Committee sub-committee, who will provide relevant governance and oversight for the project and who will report progress into Bishop’s Council and Diocesan Synod.
Further information on the project will be made available, as required, on the pages below, which includes a comprehensive Q&A page and opportunity for interested parties to direct questions to the Project Team via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).