Scientology and its languishing English property: Duckworth's Essence Distillery, Trafford - 2016-05-20
For years, the Church of Scientology has owned several grand and historic properties across England, purchased as part of a global expansion plan to build "Ideal Organisations" — religious centres — in new communities across the world. Critics of the church accuse it of being a "cult", which it strenuously denies, saying it is a legitimate religion.
In 2006, Scientologists purchased the vast Duckworth's Essence Distillery in Trafford, a Grade II listed Victorian works of an old flavourings and colourings manufacturer, and a row of attached buildings for a reported £3.6m (£5.2m, $4.7m). It was intended to be Manchester's Ideal Org.
The following year, a planning application was submitted to Trafford council to convert the building into "a place of worship and religious instruction". It would include a chapel, public information space and an office for the church's late founder L. Ron Hubbard to "stand in his honour", according to a promotional video, which describes the property as a "former cotton mill".