A decision on whether Waltham Forest Council will enforce the purchase of former cinema, which has been at the centre of a long-running dispute between the community and the evangelical church which owns it is, will be made next month.

Talks between the authority and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God over the future of the former EMD building in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, have broken down.

The church, which purchased the building in 2002, has had two applications to turn the historic cinema into a place of worship turned down and a community trust hopes to re-open it as an entertainment venue.

The council in 2012 agreed in principle to the use of a compulsory purchase order (CPO) as a “last resort”.

And now cabinet members will meet on July 15 to decide whether to push ahead with the CPO, which would enable the council to sell the venue to the Waltham Forest Cinema Trust and Soho Theatre as an arts and entertainment venue.  

Campaign group The McGuffin Film Society has been pivotal in the campaign to return the venue to community use.

Spokesman Bill Hodgson said: "Everyone who has supported our campaign since 2003 will recognise that this is a very significant development.

"It is now a year since the government’s decision to dismiss UCKG’s plans and the church group has had ample opportunity to enter meaningful discussions to help resolve the situation.

"This has not happened so the council is more than justified in pursuing a CPO.

"Local residents have made their voices heard time and again on this issue and there can be no doubt that a revived entertainment venue is what this community wants."

UCKG has been contacted for a comment.