Trafford Housing Standards now investigating Scientology property

Trafford Council’s Housing Standards have launched an investigation into the home ofScientology’s future ‘Manchester Ideal Org’ after they included photos in a planning application that suggest there are staff members living at the property.

The former Duckworth Distillery building, which is Grade-II listed, was listed as vacant in 2005 and earlier this month the consultancy firm representing Scientology filed a declaration that confirmed it is not in use and that there are no employees currently on site. However as we reported last week, the building is occupied by at least one staff member and the Council’s planning department are aware, telling us “we don’t care.”

Scientology Business Editor Alexander Barnes-Ross (aka Apostate Alex) subsequently reported the property to Trafford Council’s Housing Standards, who confirmed “this does seem as though it would [fall] into Housing Standards remit” with a Housing Enforcement Officer telling us “I will begin investigating the issue of the premises potentially being used as a place of residence.”

Inside Scientology's Manchester Ideal Org
Loose electrical fittings and crumbling plaster can be seen in photos provided as part of Scientology’s planning application.

It is unclear how long the investigation will take, however photographs uploaded by NJSR Chartered Architects on behalf of the Church of Scientology suggest the living conditions are more than subpar. In one photo mouldy bedsheets can be seen, along with loose electrical fittings and rooms described as “inaccessible” due to collapsed ceilings.

One former parishioner told us “I don’t know who’s sleeping there now, but I know it used to be the ED [Executive Director] Tracey Fitzgibbon and her husband Danny, who’s also an exec. I think I’m correct in saying that their son was staying with them there at the time as well. I think he was of school age. He’s now older and on staff.”

Fitzgibbon was interviewed by Youtube channel Faith Matters in 2015, in which she denied Scientology is a cult. “I don’t keep anyone away from their family, my front door’s always open.. people can come and go as they please.”

Scientology acquired the Manchester property for £3.6 million in 2007 and plan to transform it into an ‘Ideal Org’, however works are still yet to begin and the building remains in a state of disrepair 17 years later.

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.”

Scientology manchester bedroom mouldy sheets
The photographs indicate staff are living in squalor, with mouldy bedsheets seen in one photo uploaded by Scientology’s representatives

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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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