The row over the Church Commissioner’s decision to relocate the Bishop of Bath and Wells from his historic residence has now entered uncharted waters.

Last week, the Bishop’s Council at Wells took the unprecedented step of formally objecting to the Church Commissioner’s proposal that has so dismayed the local community in Somerset and beyond (Country Life, January 22 and February 12).

This means that the Archbishops’ Council must now arbitrate in the case. ‘To do this will further insult those who have opposed the change locally,’ comments John Goodall, Country Life’s Architecture Editor. ‘It will also cement the impression that the Commissioners have established themselves as an unassailable power, taking decisions on matters of public concern without consultation and in private, and also that they are effectively unanswerable even to Parliament, the sole body with powers to scrutinise them.’

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