Scientologists break silence and vow to start £6m restoration of Moseley mansion

The Birmingham Mail, UK/September 26, 2012

The Church of Scientology has broken years of silence over its future plans for a listed mansion in Moseley - with a pledge to spend £6 million on a major restoration.

The American church, whose followers include Tom Cruise and John Travolta, says it proposes a 'complete and sensitive' restoration of the former Pitmaston building in Moor Green Lane to 'bring the property back to its former glory'

The Scientologists issued the statement days after the Birmingham Mail revealed mounting disquiet over the Church's intentions for the building, which has been left empty for years, sparking fears that the Moseley landmark could fall into disrepair.

Graeme Wilson, UK Public Affairs Director of the Church, said: "At the moment, consultants are working on preparing the various reports required for the proposed refurbishment. These are nearly complete and we will be consulting the community in the coming months.

"The plans involve a complete and sensitive restoration of the building, which is likely to cost around £6 million and will bring the property back to its former glory."

Meanwhile, Edgbaston-based Willoughby Public Relations has been appointed by the church and confirmed the firm had been hired to liaise with planners from architects Broadway Malyan over the future of the mansion.

Julia Willoughby, chief executive of the PR company, said in a statement: "We are working with the planning team on the community consultation for the change of use of 123, Moor Green Lane, Moseley from a B1 to D1 use. (offices to educational use)

"Our role is to ensure that the consultation process is carried out properly and that local people get an opportunity to feedback on proposals.

"In doing this work, we are not doing PR for the Church of Scientology, but providing the necessary communication channels to inform and gather comments for the planning submission."

Ms Willoughby confirmed that the PR agency had been hired by the Church of Scientology.

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