The Church of Scientology is converting a derelict Gateshead nursing home into its North East base.
They bought the former Windmill Hills home in 2007 and yet 15 years later the building remains boarded up.
However the scientologists remain ‘committed’ to the project of renovating the Grade II-listed building, telling the BBC: “We are committed to a full historic restoration of this property, returning it to its original eminence and beyond.”
The church’s current North East base is in Sunderland.
Scientology was founded in the 1950s by an American science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, and since then has been the subject of a number of controversies.
Former members have alleged the church is a cult and carries out physical and emotional abuse- the church denies these claims.
According to their website, Scientology: ‘offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being.’
Celebrities Tom Cruise and John Travolta are followers of the religion.
The church has not confirmed a timescale for the project but the plans include three new extensions. replacement of windows and reinstatement of historic features.
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