The secretive Church of Scientology is to finally lift the lid on its £6 million plans for a listed mansion in Birmingham – seven years after targeting new headquarters in the city.The American church, whose followers include Tom Cruise and John Travolta, is sending a representative to brief residents in a public consultation on the restoration of the former Pitmaston building in Moor Green Lane, Moseley.
The consultation days take place this Friday and Saturday at the mac in Cannon Hill Park – and around 720 leaflets have been sent out inviting householders to share their views. In September, the Church pledged to spend £6 million on a ‘complete and sensitive’ restoration to "bring the property back to its former glory".
The Scientologists issued the statement days after public concerns emerged over the state of the building, which has been left empty for years, sparking fears it could be left to crumble into disrepair.
Edgbaston-based Willoughby Public Relations has been appointed by the church to liaise with planners from architects Broadway Malyan over the change of use of the mansion from offices to educational use.
Julia Willoughby, chief executive of the PR company, said: "We want as many people as possible in the immediate vicinity who are affected by this to turn up. There will be representatives from the project team, the church and ourselves there – this is part of the promise we are giving people to consult with the public of Moseley.
"We have done a big door to door drop – 720 leaflets went out to residents in the immediate vicinity. We have contacted everybody who needs to know and more. This will provide a chance for the public to feedback to us, we want to hear their comments."
The US Church bought the Moseley mansion for a reported £4.25 million in September 2007 but the premises have remained unoccupied since. The building was home of the Ideal Benefit insurance society for decades.