Campaign update – March 2014

Since UCKG’s planning Appeal was rejected last May, we have kept in regular contact with Waltham Forest Cinema Trust and the council to find out what is happening, and any ways that supporters can help.

In the last few weeks we have expressed concerns over the lack of news and have asked what condition the EMD/Granada building is currently in. We asked if the Mayor of London has been contacted to assist the cause and if a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) may be carried out as agreed by the council in principle in December 2012 should a negotiated sale with UCKG fail to materialise.

The Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Cllr Chris Robbins stated:

“I can confirm that acquisition of the former EMD Cinema using public funding or CPO powers will be a lengthy process requiring relevant decision making processes and due diligence to be undertaken.

This work is on-going and while it may appear as if little is happening the Council and the Soho Theatre (the lead organisation for the WFCT plans) are meeting regularly to progress this. At this stage we are not involving any other parties such as The Mayor but we have not ruled this out. English Heritage and our Conservation Officer did gain access to the building recently to ensure the building remains wind and weather tight and I can confirm this is still the case.”

We have also received this statement from
Waltham Forest Cinema Trust:

“We do understand that there hasn’t been much news on the building recently, but behind the scenes the Council are being very supportive and things are happening.

Contact has been established with the owners and our preference is still for a negotiated sale rather than the additional cost and delay of a Compulsory Purchase Order for the building.

Soho Theatre, our lead partner, has viable business, architectural and funding plans; they are  working closely and constructively with the Council to take them forward. The plans for the revitalised building are very exciting and we can see both it and the new Arcade development working very well together, and between them transforming this corner of Walthamstow.

As soon as there is more to report, we promise to let you know.”

At present the Trust has not asked individual supporters for help, however it may be useful in the next few months to remind all concerned just how much support there is for reviving this building as a modern day cine-variety theatre – the purpose for which it was built.

We therefore hope that we may be able to count on you in due course.

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Happy New Year!

Waltham Forest Cinema Trust with the support of Waltham Forest Council continue progressing their plans for seeing the eventual re-opening of the EMD/Granada as a major cinema and live entertainment centre. We hope that a transfer of ownership from the building’s current owners – Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) – will be made as swiftly as possible, whether through a Compulsory Purchase (a proposition still supported in principal by the council), or a negotiated sale. Despite the cinema being closed by UCKG 11 years ago, support for its retention in that use has grown stronger and wider each year.

With much work going on behind the scenes, we can be confident that 2014 will bring our cinema dream that little bit closer.

We will keep you informed of all important news as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support! 



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An extraordinary story…

Since the UCKG have missed their opportunity in the High Court to challenge the government’s decision to refuse them planning permission we understand attempts are being made to negotiate an eventual sale of the cinema.

There is no timetable in place to do this and it’s expected to be a lengthy process. Although the cinema has been closed for 10 years, the people of St Albans have been without their one for 18 years – however, in Spring 2014 it is due to re-open as a revived 1930′s picture palace – so there is plenty of hope for our cause! Read about the St Albans Odeon story here

From one extraordinary story to another…

Save Walthamstow Cinema and The McGuffins have been working with Charles S.P. Jenkins, author of which celebrates the fascinating world of the UK capital.

Charles, a former East End resident, has delved deep into the life of our cinema to produce a colourful and amusing tribute to this beautiful building, which he has dedicated to the supporters of it – ie. YOU.

Packed with rarely seen images, from opening night in 1930 to the gala last night in 2003, this could be the definitive story of the Granada Walthamstow. Read and see it all here

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UCKG planning appeals REJECTED

We’re delighted to confirm that planning appeals to convert the EMD cinema into a UCKG Helpcentre with community use/cinema provision have been dismissed by the government and planning permission has been refused.

This follows agreement by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government of the planning inspectorate’s  recommendation to refusal UCKG’s appeals.

The Planning Inspectorate’s full report is here: 13-05-22 Hoe St Comb DL-IR-CN

UCKG have six weeks to challenge the decision in the High Court. Waltham Forest Council pledged last year to consider a compulsory purchase of the cinema should UCKG refuse to negotiate selling it to Waltham Forest Cinema Trust in the event of these appeals being rejected.

Reports covering the decision and response from cinema supporters and the UCKG are here:

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EMD film report

The Planning Inspectorate is due to make their recommendation to Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP on UCKG’s planning appeals this May.

While we await his decision and find out if the Communities Secretary upholds or rejects it, here’s a short film and article by Alan Selby, interviewing Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy and Bill Hodgson of the Waltham Forest Cinema Trust and McGuffin Film Society.

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2012 in review

A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part in the campaign this year. The site received 8,600 views in 2012. The busiest day of the year was September 4th with 492 views and the most popular post that day was Officers recommend UCKG plans are rejected. Yay! Our visitors come not only from the UK but also the United States and Australia! Happy New Year to everyone!

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Message from Waltham Forest Cinema Trust


Now that the Planning Inquiry has finished hearing evidence, WFCT would like to thank the very many people who contributed to our part of the process – outlining the exciting vision for a 21st century entertainment venue in this historic building.

The Inquiry itself was a real test of the viability of those plans and they came through some tough scrutiny looking more robust than ever. Indeed, during the Inquiry we obtained a firm offer of £2m loan financing which would enable us to secure the building and move to a ‘first phase’ refurbishment to re-open the doors with a limited programme. This is a major step forward as our vision now have the cash to back it up.

Amongst those we would like to acknowledge are:

-          Soho Theatre, our lead partner, who underwrote WFCT’s legal costs and whose ongoing support makes the business plan viable

-          Curzon Cinemas who have brought great professionalism and a passion for cinema

-          Sadie Frost and Andrew Green who will be an important part of the future and have helped us to secure the offer of loan funding

-          Ian Ritchie Architects, our award-winning architects, who have put together a fantastic scheme; Richard Oyarzabal, Graham Devlin and Bryan Savery for their work on the business planning and all our witnesses.

-          Arts Council England and the London Borough of Waltham Forest for showing the belief to fund the feasibility studies.

-          The Royal Shakespeare Company, Birmingham Rep Theatre and colleagues within the arts world who will bring educational and artistic projects to the new Granada.

-          Our legal team who worked very hard to present our case so well.

-          Above all, the local people, businesses, politicians and campaigners who have given wholehearted support to our plans.

The next steps for the Inquiry will be more work from the Planning Inspector and a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, who is expected to make a decision in late Spring 2013.

At WFCT, we will take a short break before regrouping early in the New Year to further develop our plans towards securing and financing the purchase of this historic building.

We will also have more to say about our vision for the Granada, what the programme will look like and how it will work. We’re keen to share this with all supporters of the campaign – and, if they exist, any doubters – and we want to make sure we hear your thoughts about what you’d like to see there.

Meantime, thank you again. Seasonal greetings and a very Happy New Year from all of us at Waltham Forest Cinema Trust; let’s hope that 2013 is a memorable year for the Walthamstow Granada.


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Council agrees in principal to buy cinema

Waltham Forest Council’s senior councillors have agreed in principal to issue a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) which could force UCKG to sell the EMD. This is crucially dependant on UCKG losing both their planning Appeals and then refusing to agree to sell the building.

It is a positive step and one that has been made possible since the formation of Waltham Forest Cinema Trust which itself came about thanks to the tireless and dedicated support from so many cinema campaigners over the years,  and especially the local community in Waltham Forest.

Read UCKG’s reaction to a CPO here

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Last day to save Walthamstow

Apologies to everyone who is getting campaign fatigue but did you know the Boundary Commission plans to abolish Walthamstow as a constituency? This could mean the loss of many councillors who have supported the restoration of the cinema, not to mention our tireless MP.

Today is the last day to object to these plans. But don’t worry, the Our Walthamstow campaign has a very easy to use online letter generator. It sets out the main points and allows you change or add your own. Please, if you can, take a few minutes to make a difference and go to the Our Walthamstow letter generator. You will also find more about the campaign including a video shot in the Rose and Crown pub.

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Attending the EMD Public Inquiry

The following information has been published by Waltham Forest Council:




This inquiry has generated a large amount of public interest and the Council wishes to make sure that anyone who wants to attend can. However, space is limited.

If you are interested in attending the Inquiry, we recommend that you try to come on one of the following days, when the Inquiry will be taking place in the Assembly Hall:

Thursday 29th November                                                                                                              Friday 30th November                                                                                                                    Tuesday 4th December                                                                                                                 Wednesday 12th December                                                                                                        Thursday 13th December                                                                                                             Wednesday 19th December

You can also attend on any or all of the following days, but on these days the Inquiry will be in the Council Chamber and space will be limited, and available on a ‘first come first served basis

Wednesday 5th December                                                                                                                   Thursday 6th December                                                                                                                        Friday 7th December                                                                                                                           Tuesday 11th December                                                                                                                         Friday 14th December                                                                                                                        Tuesday 18th December

If you are interested in attending and speaking at the Inquiry, then you should be aware that a day has been reserved for this – Wednesday 12th December. If possible you should organise your time so that you can attend and speak on this day.

We also recommend that you:

    • Attend on the first day (10am on Thursday 29th November) and give your name, the topic you want to speak on and, if possible, a written note of what you plan to say to Martha Clark who will be taking all names of attendees; OR
    • Email the same details (your name, the topic you want to speak on and, if possible, a written note of what you plan to say) to Martha Clark ( or write to Martha c/o London Borough of Waltham Forest, Sycamore House. Rear of Walthamstow Town Hall. Forest Road. Walthamstow E17 4JF

The Inspector will not refuse permission for any third party to speak on other days; this is simply to try to be as fair as possible to all of the third parties who want to make their views known.

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