Since Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) took ownership of the cinema in 2003 they have had 3 planning applications rejected both by Waltham Forest Council, and later on Appeal by the government.
Below are our main reasons for opposing UCKG’s applications to convert the building into either a church, or a church/cinema hybrid:
These are the main ways in which we believe a restored cinema is crucial to the regeneration of the area.
- It is a landmark building.
- Once restored it would have the potential to attract audiences both within and beyond the borough.
- If used as a UCKG church. the building would effectively be removed from the public domain.
- A church would result in a relatively small number of people using the building frequently. A cinema would result in a much greater number of people using the building, albeit less frequently.
- The secondary spend of cinema goers would stimulate the evening economy and help local businesses.
- A cinema can reach out to all sectors of the population. A well rounded programme could include screenings for children, daytime concessions for seniors and low income groups, and programming for the borough’s many ethnic groups as well as showing mainstream movies.
- It can offer more than a multiplex. Very few existing cinemas have the potential to hold live music and events as well. The EMD/Granada building was built with full stage facilities for multi-purpose use.
- All 3 UCKG planning applications have been rejected unanimously by Waltham Forest Council and on Appeal by the national government. The main reasons given for rejection remain valid.
- There is widespread support by the local community in retaining the building for cinema/live entertainment use.
- Planning guidelines recommend that a listed building’s original use should be the first option wherever possible.
- The building would need some investment to bring out its full potential, and there is a common counter argument that no commercial operator would be able or willing to make that kind of investment. The Locum report of August 2010 recommended the establishment of a Trust that could attract grant funding and lease the premises to commercial operators.
- The Waltham Forest Cinema Trust was therefore established in 2011 with the full support of the local council and has detailed business plans demonstrating its financial viability.