The last time I looked, asbestos removal was under way there. I could tell, because the gates were covered with statutory signs put up by the contractor, Gilpin Environmental, who specialise in that work. They had also parked a mobile asbestos removal facility there.
The signs that were on the gates are gone now. The upper left image shows what the place looks like today, and the one below, on the right, how it was during my last visit. However, a mobile decontamination unit is still parked in this secure area.
I don’t understand what is going on here. However, we do know that Scientology does not like people watching their activities, or reporting on what they are doing. In fact, if you have seen reports from Ideal Org openings (e.g. Firhouse, in the Republic of Ireland and Birmingham in England) you will know that they take great pains to exclude the public, even to the point of putting up expensive sight barriers.
This is because they prefer their entry into a community to be a fait accompli – ideally nobody knows what is happening until after the opening ceremony has taken place.
on te other hand, I doubt a reputable company like Gilpin Environmental would remove the site signs before they had finished doing their job. They are, after all, required by law. I also doubt Scientology could prevail upon them to do this, so that the work attracts less attention.
Is the job complete, then? – in which case, why is the equipment still there? I think it the job probably is over, and the equipment will be moved out soon, but I will check back.
*As always, if you click on any of these high resolution images, they will open in a new tab and you can zoom in. You are also welcome to download and inspect them closely, providing you tell me if you spot anything interesting in the comments 🙂
The Mystery of the Missing Warning Signs
Here is an image of the decontamination unit that is presently parked in the secure area alongside the org building.
If you zoom in, you can see that the door is marked ‘Clean End’. This is where materials contaminated with asbestos leave the unit in safely sealed sacks, to be taken to certified sites for disposal.
Here’s the unit that was there previously
This appears to be a different one . I suppose the previous unit may have had to be taken away for cleaning – but it’s interesting that the ‘new’ one has fewer visible warning stickers – perhaps it has been parked so that they are on the other side.
Such a thing would certainly satisfy Scientology’s demands to keep the lowest possible profile witout breaking any rules.
Around the front of the building is also conduit that has been left behind. This probably serves a function in ventilatingthe asbestos-contamined areas, capturing and filtering out any dust gererated durng the process. It is can be seen by just looking through the public entry doors at the front of the building.
If you oberve the building at night, you can see internal lights coming on and off This is evidence that they have an electricity supply. The wiring is evidently not safe however. I can onlyt imagineg the electrical safety issues that accompany water running down the walls due to the the leaky roofing. However, I can spot a few hints that all is not well just by walking aound outside.
The image below shows a door to one of the two apartments that were supplied for the live-in managers and their families. To the left of the doors, on the wall there is a black spot where an external light used to be.
This is what that spot looks like in closeup. A bundle of mains electrical wires, which have been crudely cut off without making them safe in any way, are sticking out of the wall. In the UK we have a 240v supply which makes this a significant hazard. Presumably they have switched the breakers concerned at the fusebox… but accidents happen (they might be accidently switich on again) and this is far from safe practice. In fact, it’s irresponsible.
The Dangerously Insecure Window Has Been Made Safe
The only visible work that has been done is to remove the broken window on the top floor. That had been done when I made my last post, but I neglected to mention it (sorry).
I had previously noted that this substantial window had come off of its hinges on one side after a storm, and was in an unsafe state during a period of high winds. This was reported to Plymouth City Council – and now the window seems to have been removed and the space boarded up (see below) for context and before and after pictures.
It’s the top, middle window at the front.
Sorry I Missed You…
Finally, here is evidence that confirms the building is routinely occupied. Pictured below are postcards left by a delivery driver who could not get a response, nor find a letterbox. They wedged them into the crack of the front door.
Scientologists have to be at the org for ‘muster’ at 09:00, which means they leave the place around 08:30. The org does not close until 22:00, so they don’t get back until close on 22:30. If they have things delivered there, they are going to miss delivery drivers a lot.
Is the Ideal Org Project in Plymouth Advancing – Or Will it Stall Again Soon?
So… What’s going on? Is the asbestos removal complete – in which case the equipment is there awaiting removal. Are the contractors going to go back in – in which case why have the statutory signs been taken down? Are they coming back for the decontomination unit when they need it for another job? I think this is probably the case, but only time will tell.
If this equipment is taken away in the near future the asbestos removal phase is likely over and done with, and the coast is clear for buildling crews to prop up the floors and ceilings and start removing the internal walls. This is is neccessary to create the open areas set out in the submitted plans.There will be enormous amounts of building waste to dispose of.
Whether this will happen is an interesting question.
The Church of Scienotology recently obtained planning permission from Plymouth City Council to go ahead with th erenovation of the builing on the basis of submitted plans. However, they had also obtained permission shortly after they bought the building in 2010. Despite promises that work would soon commence, nothing happened and the permission expired after the statutory five years. Lots of money was raised from Scientologist during that time however…
It’s possible that, when these plans were presented to the Local Council it became apparant that the asbestos containing materials that were examined during inspections by contracted professionals were degrading and becoming dangerous as a result of the leaky roofing. It’s a legal requirement to report this.
Consequently the City Council may have ordered that those materials be safely removed. They may also have ordered the owner to make the dangerously insecure window safe – possibly as a result of a complaint submitted to the Council during a period when a storm was passing over.
If this is so, there’s a chance that the project will stall again (after much more fundraising) and the events I have been documenting will turn out to have been another false start.
If they really want to renovate the place, the whole of the UK will be celebrating the 400th anniversery of the departure of the Mayflower from Plymouth throughout 2020 – an ideal opportunity for the ‘leader’ of Scientology, David Miscavige, to delive a ‘religious freedom’ speech during the ‘Grand Opening’. He is usually in October for the IAS ‘event’ in Saint Hill.
There’s a of work to be done before that can happen, so they have a narrow window to make that date. If some serious construction does not commence very soon, I’m betting that Plymouth’s Scientologists are in for at least another five years of donations, frustration and disappointment.
It it does, Miscavige has ordered the go-ahead, and his word is law.