Trafford Council “don’t care” about unsafe living conditions at Scientology staff quarters

Trafford Council have responded to concerns Scientology staff members are being forced to live in squalor after photos revealed mouldy bedsheets and crumbling ceilings at their future Manchester “Ideal Org”.

Yesterday we reported the Church of Scientology have submitted a new planning application for the redevelopment of Manchester’s former Duckworth Distillery building, which they hope to turn into a new ‘Ideal Org’.

Photos filed as part of their application suggest the property, which has been listed as vacant since 2005, is being used for residential purposes with at least one staff member living on-site while the building awaits restoration. The application, submitted by consultancy firm Paul Butler Associates on behalf of Scientology, describes the building as in a “dilapidated condition” and photographs show plaster hanging from the ceilings, loose electrical fittings and one room it describes as “inaccessible” due to a collapsed roof.

Perhaps most worrying are the images showing its staff quarters, where mouldy bedsheets can be seen in a bedroom and an office space decorated with ‘Ideal Org’ propaganda posters. The building is currently not registered as residential, and Scientology’s planning application states there are no employees currently on site.

Scientology manchester bedroom mouldy sheets
The bedroom photographed inside Scientology’s derelict Manchester property appears to have mouldy bedsheets

After reporting the poor living conditions and inappropriate use of the building under planning regulations to Trafford Council, a planning officer told us “we know there’s someone living at the property. We don’t care.”

“We’re quite happy someone’s living there as some of the other properties in the area have been broken into and set on fire and such”

Although it makes sense for somebody to serve as a night watch to ensure the safety of the property from squatters and vandals, it appears based on crockery and cookware seen in the photos that there is at least one member of staff sleeping and living there full time.

The property appears to be lived-in and shower gel, shampoo and other toiletries can be seen in the bathroom
The building is described as in “dilapidated condition” by Scientology’s architects

Scientology Sea Org members, who would be responsible for the building until renovations begin, are often subjected to harsh living conditions. Claire Headley, who worked at Scientology’s headquarters for 14 years, grew up in the ‘Cadet Org’ and explained in a video posted online recently that “abuse and neglect were commonplace”.

“My mother worked on the construction site at Saint Hill [Scientology’s Sussex headquarters]. She was hit in the head and had to be rushed to the hospital due to a lack of safety precautions and equipment. I was charged with nursing her back to health as an 8 year old.”

Trafford Council’s response to our concerns paints a very worrying picture and raises the question.. who is responsible for ensuring the safety of those living and working at Scientology’s Manchester properties?

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Alexander Barnes-Ross

Scientology Business provides analysis and commentary on the Church of Scientology's corporate structure, business operations and functions in the United Kingdom and Europe. The website looks at Scientology's shell companies, financial records and maps the web of international corporate entities responsible for their UK and European activities.

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