These are our reasons for opposing the UCKG’s appeal against the May 18th 2011 council planning committee’s decision. Most of these remain valid for the revised plans submitted in June 2012. However our specific response to these plans is here.
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.
- Approval of the UCKG’s church application would effectively remove the cinema 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. For instance 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.
- The first proposal was rejected on appeal by Secretary of State in 2003. The main reasons given for rejection remain valid.
- The second proposal was rejected unanaimously, and was widely supported by the local community.
- 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 established in 2011 and has jointly commissioned a detailed feasibility study with the council.
We would like the council to help the UCKG find an alternative venue in the borough to serve their membership so that the cinema can be put back on the market.