FOR decades, the Bishop of Oxford has lived in a North Oxford property worth millions.

But whoever takes on the role when the Rt Rev John Pritchard retires at the end of the month will live in Kidlington.

Wolfson College, which has leased the house in Linton Road to the Church Commissioners for a “peppercorn rent”, wants the house back. And the Commissioners have bought a property in Mill Street, Kidlington, for an estimated £1.7m after a review of property prices in the city.

Sarah Meyrick, strategic adviser to the Bishop of Oxford, said the house was bought after diocesan staff, Bishop John and his wife went to look at the property to make sure it was suitable.

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She added: “Property in Kidlington is much less expensive than in North Oxford.

“The Bishop has done a huge amount of entertaining in Linton Road and it’s sad that will no longer be possible in that place.”

She said it had to fit a number of criteria, including having five bedrooms, a dining room and a garden. Ed Jarron, bursar of Wolfson College, estimated that the house in Linton Road was worth “in excess of £10m” but was not for sale.

He added that it was possible the grounds could be used for future college development to provide student accommodation.

Mr Jarron added: “The arrangement dates back 35 years and an agreement dates back to the late 1990s that the arrangement would run until the end of the current bishop.

“They have made a pragmatic judgement — Kidlington is not a million miles away.”

Church Commissioners’ spokeswoman Rachel Harden said: “Having reviewed the Oxford market for some time the Diocese, the Bishop and the Commissioners agreed to extend the field of search to Kidlington.”

She said The Coach House was bought in 2012 and had been rented out until recently.

Built in 1996, it is a detached Cotswold stone property set in landscaped gardens.

There is an annexe and a detached two-bedroom gate lodge located at the entrance.

There is an entrance hall, kitchen/breakfast room, dining room with stone fireplace, and the orangery, a spacious room, leads off the dining and drawing rooms, opening to the garden terrace.

Oxford Mail:

  • The existing residence in Linton Road, North Oxford is worth £10m

Sarah Allington, director of the Kidlington branch of estate agent Oliver James, said: “They will be getting a lot more for their money in Kidlington than they would in North Oxford “And it’s only about 10 minutes away.

“Kidlington will be even more desirable next year when the Oxford Parkway railway station opens.”

The Bishop of Oxford, who retires next Friday, said: “I think the transport will be okay when the Bishop is living in Kidlington.

“We have enjoyed living at Linton Road – it has a magnificent garden and my wife Wendy and I have done a lot of entertaining there.

“Following my retirement we will be moving to Richmond in North Yorkshire.”

The new Bishop has not yet been appointed.


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