Church of Scientology: Pitmaston House, Moseley

The Challenge

To support a potentially controversial change of use application for the Grade II listed Pitmaston House in Moseley, Birmingham, on behalf of the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles.

Crucially, the brief landed about a week after Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced their separation. This wasn’t going to fly under the radar.


The Idea

Our advice to the client was to be three things at all times: proactive, positive and professional.

We used these guiding principles to direct our approach and tone throughout the planning process – with the aim of delivering a thorough public consultation which stood up to scrutiny, but didn’t generate further fuel for the media agenda and its negative portrayal of Scientology.


The Results

  • Our knowledge of the local area, together with our links to the local media, councillors and planning officers, ensured the community was aware of the proposals, and was able to comment on them appropriately
  • We slowly gained the confidence of our client, with our strategy subsequently ensuring key messages and important information about the scheme were conveyed, and not lost in the hype around the Cruise / Holmes split
  • The quality of consultation materials produced, and the extensive on-the-ground strategy of briefing and listening, provided valuable direction for the planning submission, which ultimately gained approval from the planning officers in Birmingham