IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation

Warwickshire Mansion Set To Receive Refugees

A luxury 27-bedroom Diocese-owned Warwickshire mansion may soon be hosting dozens of Syrian refugees, pending the Council’s decision.

Offa House, on Village Street near Leamington, was put on sale in October two years ago after its closure as a spiritual retreat centre. However, the Diocese of Coventry has removed it from the market as they await planning permission from the Warwick District Council.

The Georgian mansion, which comprises of 27 bedrooms, a conference suite, coach house and chapel, was estimated at £1.25 million when it was marketed as a hotel or private school in 2013. Diocese spokesman Graeme Pringle said the manor required some minor repairs.

The application, submitted on 20 October, proposed a “change of use from diocese retreat house to short-term residential accommodation for refugees for a period of up to 5 years.”

The idea came from a refugee reception held last July, where the Bishop of Coventry praised the role of local leaders in the crisis and told refugees “We are so glad that you are here in Coventry, and that you are safe. We know that you and your people have suffered in terrible, terrible ways.”

Last month, over 80 bishops signed a letter to Cameron, urging him to accept 50,000 refugees fleeing war-zones in the next 5 years.

After receiving no response, the letter was made public on October 19th, a day before making the application.

Current UK commitment remains 20,000 refugees, or 0.03% of the current population. This is substantially less than Britain’s Western European neighbours, including Germany, Sweden, Italy and France.

The Diocese has contributed to the humanitarian emergency by sending donations such as blankets and clothing to the controversial “jungle” camps in Calais. Offa House is currently unused.


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