EMD/Granada added to ‘At Risk’ register

The Theatres Trust is an important national advisory body for the UK’s 2000+ theatres.

They publish an annual list of Theatre buildings at risk, the latest of which contains 31 theatres including 2 new entries.

One of these new entries is our very own EMD/Granada – details here.

They highlight the plight of our cinema by stating:

“Without any use or maintenance, it is believed that the auditorium and stage areas are now in a poor condition. If the auditorium is not brought back into use, there is a strong risk that the auditorium and stage areas will deteriorate further and the venue will be lost permanently to live performance use. In order to avoid this, the London Borough of Waltham Forest has brought Antic London and Soho Theatre together to discuss shared use of the building.”

They go on to say:

“The London Borough of Waltham Forest has been brokering discussions between Antic London and Soho Theatre, with the aspiration of ensuring a shared use of the building. The plan would be for Soho Theatre to deliver a high quality programme of entertainment, alongside a wide-reaching community education programme. “

Read The Theatres Trust full statement here.

So what are Antic, the new owners of the EMD/Granada doing?

Antic state asbestos removal has been ongoing, which when completed will allow other works to take place, including dealing with infestation from pigeons and rodents. Meanwhile, they are working on funding a £5M+ refurbishment of the auditorium and state this part of the building remains at the heart of their plans.

Antic expect to submit a pre-planning application to Waltham Forest Council very soon. If that is deemed to meet many of the council’s concerns, it is expected that a full planning application would follow, available to view in the public domain. We will be asking all supporters to respond to the application once it is available.

Soho Theatre are highly respected in the industry and best placed at enhancing the rich heritage of this grand venue by using it to serve the social, educational and cultural needs of the local and wider community at all levels.

Antic are well regarded in running pubs – but we need to ensure they give Soho Theatre full operational access to get the very best from this huge cinema building. It’s what many people have fought for.

The Theatres Trust have shone a bright spotlight on our cinema and it’s importance to the nation. Let’s hope Antic are listening.

Read a Guardian article on this story here.




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New ownership – New plans for our cinema

Antic pub company have completed the purchase of the EMD/Granada, finally ending UCKG’s 12-year ownership.

Press reports suggested a company called RMP Prop – not Antic – had bought the cinema, however Anthony Thomas, Antic’s founder confirmed that RMP were simply ‘involved’ and that the building has been bought by Antic’s partnership company EMD Walthamstow LLP.

Licensing applications for film, live entertainment and alcohol provision were submitted by Antic earlier this year and have been approved by Waltham Forest Council.

Antic hope to submit their planning application to the council by the end of June with the hope that the foyer may re-open to the public by Christmas 2015 with other parts of the building to follow.

It’s estimated the Christie organ may need approximately £250,000 spent on restoring it to full working order. Antic have said it will be looked at as part of wider surveys to address health & safety issues (particularly asbestos) and establish the overall condition of the building.

Soho Theatre & Waltham Forest Cinema Trust (WFCT) remain hopeful of reaching an agreement with Antic on providing a comprehensive entertainment programme in the beautiful auditorium.

Antic have stated the successful use of the auditorium is essential to their plans which also include bars and a small hotel/residential to help fund the development.

Once Antic’s planning application is published we will be asking everyone to fight for the very best outcome of this nationally important entertainment venue. This includes ensuring Soho Theatre & WFCT – with their expertise and resources for providing major entertainment and education programmes – are at the heart of the use of this building for decades to come.

Thank you for your support.






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Your questions answered by Soho Theatre

Soho Theatre have produced this list of FAQs to help everyone understand the current situation regarding their plans, the building ownership change, Waltham Forest Council’s position and the plans of Antic pub company.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the campaign so far and all your help

and recent action in urging Antic to work with Soho Theatre to deliver the desire of thousands of people in the Walthamstow and wider community to revive this venue for film and live entertainment.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Save Walthamstow Cinema



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New statement from Soho

Some slightly more positive news… We’ve just received the statement below from Soho Theatre and WFCT, and we wanted to share it with you straight away.

Please don’t stop sending your wonderful Tweets, Facebook posts and emails at this important time (see the post below this if you haven’t done these already, it only takes 2 minutes).

But it’s great news that Soho is optimistic about the possibilities. Maybe Walthamstow’s Christmas wish will come true?

This is a brief statement from Soho Theatre and WFCT in response to some of today’s activity on social media.

Soho Theatre and the Waltham Forest Cinema Trust are keen to make clear that the support of Waltham Forest Council for our plans for the former Granada Cinema have been unwavering.

It is a constantly changing picture at the moment, with a lot of hopeful possibilities. The council have facilitated, and continue to support, productive meetings between the concerned parties.

While some elements of our plans are uncertain right now, we are confident we can achieve a fantastic vibrant venue for everyone if we continue to work together in this way. This would not be possible without the overwhelming support of local people, the council and notably the council leader Chris Robbins.

There will be more updates over Christmas, as things are moving fast, so stay in touch at http://www.sohotheatre.com/walthamstow/

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3 quick things to help save the Granada this Christmas…

Right now, the buyer of our cinema, pub chain Antic London, is drawing up plans for the building. But we’re worried their plans boil down to mostly a pub with a side order of “quirky entertainment” (their words). That’s not what so many of us in Walthamstow fought so long and hard for.

Soho Theatre’s plans with Waltham Forest Cinema Trust are for a building that provides a wide range of uses for the widest appeal. We urgently need your help to make sure Antic works with Soho Theatre and doesn’t ‘go it alone’ with plans that don’t do justice to a building that could draw people to Walthamstow from far and wide. We also need your help to make sure that the council understands, now the Empire cinema has opened next door, how much we still want the Granada for film and live entertainment. So…

1. On Twitter? Please tweet this!

The Xmas present we all want? @sohotheatre at the #Walthamstow Granada! @antic_London @lbwfdemocracy http://youtu.be/x3GT1i46fYo Please RT

2. On Facebook? Please post this!

Please post to Antic’s Facebook wall https://www.facebook.com/antic.London or say something similar in your own words…

Getting the EMD/Granada cinema on Hoe Street back into true entertainment use is the best Christmas present you could give Walthamstow. And that means more than opening an Antic pub. It means working with the Soho Theatre too http://www.sohotheatre.com/walthamstow/

As anyone who has followed the campaign to save the Granada knows, Walthamstow cares not just about the Grade II* listed building, but about seeing it brought back as a leading entertainment venue. That’s why the council and Soho Theatre’s vision for the space was so widely supported. And why anything less will be opposed.

Antic and Soho working together is the perfect answer – so get talking!

3. And finally… please send two quick emails!

We’ve drafted emails to Antic and the council leader - just click on the links below to send them as they are. But your email will be even more effective if you add your own experience and personal feelings. Please be polite though – we want these guys to love Walthamstow! And please remember to stick your name and address at the bottom, we’re doing this to show the strength of local support for Soho Theatre’s plans.

Click here to email Antic head honcho Anthony Thomas then add your name, address and anything else you want to say in your own words.

And click here to email council leader Chris Robbins again please add your name, address and your own comments.

If your browser doesn’t like the links, please copy and paste the below:

TO: anthony@anticlondon.com

SUBJECT: Dear Santa, I want… Antic working w Soho Theatre

Dear Anthony,

A quick message to let you know that getting the EMD/Granada cinema back into true entertainment use is top of my Christmas wish list – as it is for most of us in Walthamstow.

What Walthamstow really wants for Christmas is the Soho Theatre’s plan to go ahead. So it’s great news that you are in the perfect position to work with them to turn their vision http://www.sohotheatre.com/walthamstow/ into a brilliant reality. As you’ll no doubt realise, knowing the history behind the campaign to save the cinema, Walthamstow is massively passionate about not just the historic building itself, but about seeing it brought back to use as a leading entertainment venue. That’s why the council and Soho Theatre’s vision for the space was so widely supported. And why anything less than such a serious and brilliant plan will be opposed.

Without Soho Theatre, the building will not maximise its potential. But with Antic and Soho working together, it’s the perfect answer for everyone. After all, it’s pretty clear the comedy, theatre and arthouse cinema crowds that have proven they can draw in will be perfect customers for your new establishment!

Looking forward to seeing you in there for a beer – the first one is on me!

Kind regards,



TO: cllr.chris.robbins@walthamforest.gov.uk

SUBJECT: Dear Santa, I want… Antic working w Soho Theatre

Dear Councillor Robbins,

It’s great that the Empire cinema is here… but I just want you to know that getting the EMD/Granada cinema back into true entertainment use is still top of my Christmas wish list – as it is for many Waltham Forest residents. That’s why I passionately support Soho Theatre’s vision http://www.sohotheatre.com/walthamstow/ and I hope you still support it too.


As you no doubt realise, Walthamstow is passionate about not just the historic building itself, but about seeing it back in use as a leading entertainment venue. That’s why the council and Soho Theatre’s vision for the space was so widely supported. And why anything less than such a serious and brilliant plan will be opposed.

Without Soho Theatre, the building cannot maximise its potential. And the signs are that Antic currently thinks it can get away with cobbling together any old entertainment offering. Antic and Soho working together is the perfect answer for everyone. The comedy, theatre and arthouse cinema crowds Soho Theatre has proven it can draw in will be perfect Antic customers. And the entire scheme would complement the Scene at Cleveland Place – broadening the fledgling town centre evening economy.


A revitalised Granada could be the jewel in the crown for Walthamstow. But without Soho Theatre, it will just be another shabby chic pub – that won’t help kickstart serious regeneration in the area and will probably simply steal punters from The Bell, Chequers and Rose & Crown.

So, please, remember that the campaign to save the Granada has always been about more than just the listed building – it’s about bringing it back to use as a fully-fledged entertainment venue. Please, do everything you can to get Antic and Soho Theatre talking to each other meaningfully – and give us the Christmas present Walthamstow really wants.

If you do, I’ll buy you a pint at the opening night!

Merry Xmas,


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A message to our supporters

Save Walthamstow Cinema have met Trustees and Directors of Waltham Forest Cinema Trust (WFCT) and Soho Theatre to discuss news of the sale of the EMD/Granada to Antic pub company.

WFCT/Soho Theatre have already announced that they have met Antic and that their first meeting was positive and productive. Their aspirations, which we hope are fully shared by the Council, is that a collaboration between Antic and WFCT/ST can bring about our long-term plans for returning the Granada to life. The key, of course, is that there is genuine entertainment use and full community engagement within those plans.

It is early days and Antic’s plans are yet to be fully established, however we can confirm that The Victoria bar, and shops below are under the same ownership as the main cinema building itself.

Antic have released a short statement here which explains that they have yet to raise the finance to complete on the deal and put the necessary investment into the building. Their proposals to change the use of any part of the building will require full planning approval.

It is thanks to the support of thousands of people over the years that WFCT and Soho Theatre’s plans could be made a reality. Antic would not have been able to secure agreement on a purchase if UCKG’s church plans had been granted. It is worth noting that the building would have had a much higher commercial value if it had been granted planning to become a church. This means that Antic have got a bargain based on the community’s campaign and the very considerable public and charitable funding that has been put into developing the viable architectural and business plans which led to a rejection of Church use.

We aim to make the new owners fully aware of this and are hopeful that we can work together towards a genuine entertainment and community engagement alongside a popular and profitable Antic pub.

We will let you know how your support can make a difference in future weeks.

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Sale of cinema

Soho Theatre have released this statement confirming that Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) have sold the cinema.

We hope and will encourage the new owners to work with Waltham Forest Cinema Trust, Soho Theatre and Waltham Forest Council in making our long-term ambitions to revive this building for cinema & live entertainment use come true.

Further updates will follow.


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Hear the the latest news on Soho Theatre’s work with the Walthamstow community

and their progress with reviving the cinema as a five star entertainment venue.

Subscribe to their monthly newsletters here.

Ownership and Planning news

We’re pleased to confirm that Soho Theatre and Waltham Forest Cinema Trust

are working on a planning application to be submitted to Waltham Forest Council in due course, both as part of either a negotiated sale of the building from the UCKG or a Compulsory Purchase (CPO),  the latter of which has been authorised by Waltham Forest Council should negotiations fail.


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Soho Theatre at Walthamstow Village Festival – 2 August

Waltham Forest Council have published minutes of the historic meeting at Walthamstow School for Girls which will provide funding to purchase the EMD/Granada by negotiated sale or by Compulsory Purchase.

Read them here

Meet Soho Theatre in Walthamstow!
Soho Theatre will have a stall at the
Walthamstow Village Festival on Saturday 2nd August
and will be on hand to answer any questions about the former Granada, and to talk about their workshops and opportunities for young people,
which they’ll be bringing to Walthamstow over the coming months.

The festival runs from 1pm – 6pm and the stall will be on Orford Road.

You can also see more information about Soho Theatre’s plans here 

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A huge leap forward for our cinema dream!

We’re delighted to confirm that Waltham Forest Council have approved funding for a Compulsory Purchase or negotiated sale of the EMD/Granada cinema from current owners, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG).

At a packed meeting at Walthamstow School for Girls, Council Leader Cllr Chris Robbins introduced proceedings by confirming UCKG’s Pastor Paul Hill and directors of Soho Theatre Company were present.

As portfolio holder for Economic Growth & High Streets,
Cllr Clare Coghill quoted sections from this document, requesting council approval to help fund a purchase of the cinema by
Soho Theatre Company for Waltham Forest Cinema Trust (WFCT).

Speeches confirming the long and passionate campaign lead by local residents came from former Walthamstow MP Neil Gerrard, Cllr Coghill and Deputy Leader Cllr Clyde Loakes, who said the council has changed considerably since the EMD’s closure in 2003, and understands the building’s true value not just to Waltham Forest, but London and beyond.

Steve Marmion, Creative Director of Soho Theatre Company spelled out his company’s exciting commitment to return the cinema to its original role as a modern day cine-variety venue as detailed below.

A message from Soho Theatre Company & Waltham Forest Cinema Trust

A big thank you to everyone at the McGuffin Film Society and Save Walthamstow Cinema

As you know, Waltham Forest Council last night agreed to provide financial support to help Soho Theatre purchase the former Granada building from its current owners, as well as taking significant further steps towards the Compulsory Purchase should negotiations fail.  Working closely with the local community, we plan to re-open the original auditorium as a thriving venue for comedy, theatre and film, together with three new cinema screens, an education space and a cafe, restaurant and bar.

We wanted to thank all the supporters who have campaigned so hard for this amazing building. We are delighted to be working closely with the Council and grateful for their support, and while we’re still at an early stage, we hope that it won’t be too long before we can come together and properly celebrate the re-opening of the Granada.

Meantime, we have outlined our vision for the building at www.sohotheatre.com/walthamstow and we would very much welcome your feedback, thoughts and suggestions as we move forward.

Steve Marmion and Mark GodfreySoho Theatre,
and Neil Gerrard, Waltham Forest Cinema Trust

When could the cinema finally re-open?

The million dollar question! Possibly within 2 years, should the longer process of a CPO be required. Whichever way ownership is transferred, Soho Theatre/WFCT plan to revive the cinema in phased stages.

Could a CPO fail?

There is no guarantee it would be successful, however rejection of UCKG’s plans at local and national level and the commitment of both Waltham Forest Council and Soho Theatre company should give confidence that the risk of failure is low.

Read the Waltham Forest Guardian article here

The council received significant backing for a CPO/negotiated sale so thanks to everyone who showed their support!



Supporters gather after the historic meeting



Cllrs & WFCT Trustees watch Council Leader Chris Robbins shake hands with Soho Theatre’s Steve Marmion.

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