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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2 Responses to A huge leap forward for our cinema dream!

  1. Janet Allen says:

    Good news. I really hope that it can be resorted to how it was. The staircase, I remember was beautiful.

  2. Mary Steel says:

    I grew up in Walthamstow and cannot say how pleased I am to read this story. I wish all concerned every success. Having been to Saturday morning pictures, children’s shows and competitions, (hula hoop champ !!) to seeing the likes of The Beatles, Roy Orbison, Freddie and the Dreamers, to name a few. The first adult film I remember seeing as a family was Bridge over the River Quai (may have spelled this wrong) This is an iconic building and landmark in Walthamstow and although I now live many miles away from there I am so delighted to see so many people wanting it saved.

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