Birmingham in the news

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Mystery over ‘empty’ Scientology HQ in Birmingham

The former Pitmaston building which has been bought by the Church of Scientology

THE controversial Church of Scientology is at the centre of a deepening Birmingham mystery – with a £4.25 million Grade II listed mansion allegedly left empty for years.

The American Church, whose followers include Tom Cruise and John Travolta, has been urged to reveal its intentions for the former Pitmaston building in Moor Green Lane, Moseley.

The secretive Church bought the Moseley mansion and estate for a reported £4.25 million in September 2007 for its new Midland headquarters.

But it is understood the Scientologists have never moved into the imposing mansion and extensive grounds – and local residents are unhappy that the estate is being left to neglect.

Now the Church is being urged to come clean over its plans for the building, designed by well-known Birmingham architect Holland Hobbis and home of the Ideal Benefit insurance society for decades.

Fiona Adams, secretary of the Moseley Society, said: “It has all gone extremely quiet. None of us have heard anything.

“The Moseley Society is neutral about the Scientologists but the grounds are looking neglected and people are upset that they are not going to be looked after.

“We have been expecting another planning application, but nothing has materialised. Everybody is keen to know what is going on.”

Martin Mullaney, former Birmingham City Councillor for Moseley and Kings Heath, said: “This is a major, prime site in Moseley and it is a concern to see it being neglected. They bought the whole estate and it is just sitting empty.

“The Church of Scientology has a bad reputation, correctly or incorrectly. If this was the Catholic Church or the Church of England, at least it would be upfront and we would know what was going on. The grass is growing long at the front and it looks neglected.”

Graeme Wilson, the Church of Scientology’s UK-based public affairs director, failed to respond to a number of emails requesting a comment.

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