Scientology centre planned in Manchester, UK

The Church of Scientology is pressing ahead with plans to convert a Trafford distillery into a “place of worship” for hundreds of followers.

The controversial group – whose celebrity members include Tom Cruise and John Travolta – bought the Grade II-listed building on Chester Road for a reported £3.6m.

Plans to convert it into a “place of worship and religious instruction” were withdrawn earlier this year when the Trafford council expressed concerns about parking. But the Church of Scientology is planning to submit new proposals.

The original application would have allowed up to 250 people to visit the site at any one time. The opening times would have been 9am to 10pm.

The Church of Scientology says it put forward the proposals “in response to increasing interest in Scientology’s practical solutions to life’s problem and in our social improvement programmes”.

The organisation already has a drop-in centre in Manchester city centre, where it offers personality tests for passers-by. It claims to have done successful work to combat drug abuse in prisons and schools.

But it remains controversial – it does not have charitable status and is not currently classed as a religion.

Ex-members claim the “secrets” that long-term members eventually learn include the idea that psychological problems are at root caused by the attachment of radioactive souls of aliens to human beings.

Scientology was started by the science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard in 1952 and is believed to have several thousand adherents in Britain.

L. Ron Hubbard, Charlatan

Hubbard, the man who created Scientology in 1952, has an unusual CV for a religious and spiritual leader. As well as being a writer, he was a congenital liar: quite simply a “charlatan”. That was the view of a High Court judge in 1984, who said Hubbard’s theories were “corrupt, sinister and dangerous”.
Tom Cruise’s Church of hate tried to destroy me


The organisation already has around 20 British “missions”, mainly in the south of England.

Susan Williams, leader of Trafford council, said the planning committee was bound to consider all applications in accordance with the law.

She admitted the Scientologists’ proposals were “controversial”, adding: “The views of local people, as with any application, will be very important and will be taken fully into account.”

Beverley Hughes, the MP for Stretford and Urmston, has previously admitted to be “extremely concerned” by the plans for the building, know as the Old Trafford Essence Distillery.

“In principle I do not believe that this organisation has anything positive to offer young people in our area,” she said.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday October 29, 2007.
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