The result of an appeal against the rejection of plans for the former EMD cinema in Walthamstow will not now be announced until May, it is claimed.

The Universal Church for the Kingdom of God (UCKG) launched the appeal after its proposals for a church-cinema hybrid at the Hoe Street site were rejected by Waltham Forest councillors in September.

The group bought the listed building in 2002 but has repeatedly failed to get planning permission to convert it into a place of worship.

A public inquiry was held by the government's planning inspectorate as part of the appeal in December and his verdict was expected to be announced in March.

But the McGuffin Film Society, which has been campaigning against the UCKG's plans, says it has now been told the date has been put off until May.

The society's Bill Hodgson said: “It is frustrating that a final decision still remains several months away.

“But this is the culmination of a long and complex planning process and we would much rather that ministers made a detailed examination of the case and thoroughly assess the vast amount of evidence which has been gathered before reaching their verdict”.

The UCKG's appeal was also against the council's similar rejection of an earlier application from the group to turn the site into a place of worship but without a cinema.

The UCKG says there is a clear need for its church and facilities in the borough, and says it will be of great benefit to the local community.

But Waltham Forest Council and campaigners say alternative plans to reopen the site as an entertainment venue would help regenerate the area.

During the appeal both sides rowed about the viability of each other's plans.