Duckworth Distillery Manchester

Church of Scientology advances Duckworth Distillery plans

The Church of Scientology has outlined its proposals to convert the grade-two listed Duckworth Distillery, a building in Old Trafford it bought more than 10 years ago, into a place of worship.

After buying the building in 2007 for a reported £3.6m, the Church had planned to re-open the building by either 2010 or 2011, but this never came to fruition.

The Church first resurrected the plans for the building in April this year with a listed building consent application; normally, listed building consent and full planning applications are submitted at the same time, but the Church argued listed building consent was needed first to carry out urgent repair works to the Distillery.

April’s listed building consent has now been followed with a full planning application, which outlines the conversion of the building’s interior to be a place of worship for the Church.

Designed by architect NJSR, the Church’s proposals include stripping out existing services; reinstatement of historic features; demolition of some internal partitions; installation of a new substation; and a full refurbishment and upgrade to bring the building’s interior up to modern standards.

The ground floor is to house a public information centre, exhibition space, and a chapel, while the upper floors will include a variety of spaces open to those practicing Scientology including meeting and seminar spaces, a café, and study rooms. Office, storage, and administration will be in the basement.

A lift platform to the front elevation of the building is also planned along with the installation of two new emergency escape stairs, one within a new four-storey glazed extension and the other internally.

Repairs detailed in the listed building consent included the removal of cast-iron stairs to the rear of the building, while the roof will be completely stripped back and upgraded with new slates, with many of the original roof slates damaged beyond re-use. Timber rafters have also decayed in a number of locations and will have to be fully replaced.

The listed building consent was approved in June 2018.

Paul Butler Associates is planner for the project, and the professional team also includes Renaissance; Zerum; Redmore Environmental; Curtins; Rachel Hacking Ecology; and REC.

The Duckworth’s Essence Distillery was built in 1896, and the company traded at the site until 2003 when it was taken over by food giant Cargill.

Duckworth Distillery October 2018

An impression of how the rear of the building will look with the glazed extension

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It look like a fabulous building. Real quality. It would have cost a fortune to build.

By Dave Gough

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