THE Winchester Diocese is moving out of its offices near Alresford and its future is under review.

Old Alresford Place at Old Alresford will no longer be used as its Diocesan Office by the end of December, with staff relocated to Wolvesey Palace, the Bishop’s of Winchester’s residence, along with a greater use of flexible and home-working.

It looks to set to bring to an end a church link with the country house going back 60 years.

The decision was made by the Winchester Diocesan Board of Finance, taking into account post-Covid-19 work patterns, and the need to make financial savings.

Old Alresford Place will be temporarily closed whilst the Diocese begins a review of potential future uses for the site.

If sold it would easily fetch a seven-figure sum.

The country house dates back to the 17th century, was originally a rectory and began to be used as Diocesan offices in 2008.

The diocese bought the building in 1961 and used it as a conferences centre for many years and events, which have had to cease during Covid-19.

Diocesan chief executive Andrew Robinson said: “Old Alresford Place, or OAP, has been our home since I joined the Diocese and we’ve been fortunate to have benefited from its historic character and beautiful location. We’re equally fortunate that we have additional offices at Wolvesey we can use.

“The pandemic, though hugely challenging for us all, has also shown the potential and benefits for home working where possible, and the use of technology to keep everyone fully connected. It’s been a difficult decision to leave OAP but it will benefit the future of the diocese and the church communities we serve across Hampshire and Southeast Dorset.”