12 Years After They Bought The Site, Scientologists Revive Old Trafford Megachurch Plan
The Church of Scientology acquired the 0.6 acre Duckworth's Essence Distillery site, Chester Road, Manchester in 2006, in a deal said to be worth £3M. Now the Church has applied to Trafford council for what application paperworks calls a "Stage 1" application to weatherproof and restore the Grade II listed building, ahead of a further Stage 2 application for a change of use to a church.
The application comes after a false start in 2007 — which saw proposals for change of use made, then withdrawn. The building has remained empty since then, despite the announcement that the new church would open in 2011.
The move comes as the Old Trafford neighbourhood is repositioned as a leisure, education and residential district, and away from its older corporate office occupier past.
The Duckworth distillery is one of several large regional centres acquired by the Church: in 2007 they acquired an interest in Pitmaston House, Birmingham, which has now been refurbished.