Radio Sandwell Local News

Church of Scientology HQ plan for Birmingham approved

2013-05-16 19:16:00

Plans to convert a mansion house in Birmingham into a £6m headquarters for the Church of Scientology have been recommended for approval.

The city council will discuss plans to convert the Grade II listed Pitmaston House in Moor Green Lane, Moseley, at a meeting later.

The building has been empty since the church bought it for £4.2m in 2007.

The church said it would be used to hold religious services and as a recruitment base for new members.

The new building will have a 140-seat chapel, a training centre, and about 40 offices.

One wing of the building would be named the Hubbard Guidance Centre, after the science fiction author, L Ron Hubbard, who founded the church in 1952, it said.

The church, which has previously denied accusations of being a cult, said its following in the West Midlands had increased by 25% in the past 10 years.

Traffic concerns

Birmingham City Council said it had received 10 letters of objection based on a number of issues.

They included one citing the "Church of Scientology was not a recognised religion in this country", it said.

Local conservation group, The Moseley Society, said it was not worried about the religion moving to the area but was concerned about the amount of extra traffic the centre could create.

Secretary of the society, Fiona Adams, said: "It's still an unknown quantity how busy this new centre will become.

"It's near to one of the most [statistically] dangerous junctions in Moseley, on Russell Road, which is used a lot by traffic especially during rush hour."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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