Former EMD church plan rejected

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: LIVE: Former EMD planning decision LIVE: Former EMD planning decision

Councillors have uninimously rejected an application to turn the former EMD cinema into a church.

LIVE FEED FROM WALTHAMSTOW ASSEMBLY HALL 7.30pm

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Despite the heavy showers only a few minutes ago, it would be great understatement to say that excitement has been building up outside the assembly hall.

The grounds of the town hall was only a few minutes ago awash with about 200 to 300 UCKG supporters and about 300 to 400 EMD supporters.

Banners were flying high from both groups and there are also two bag pipe players parading around the fountain.

Many of them have not been able to get into the hall, which is now full to the brim.

7.33pm

Excitement is palpable in the hall, which is full to the brim, with chants from both sides.

Committee chair, Peter Barnett has had to call for peace and civility, following chants from about 500 UCKG members wearing bright yellow workmen's jackets and "save our cinema" chants by about 300 cinema supporters.

7.45pm

The planning officer is now talking about its reasons for refusal: "It is not considered that the proposals do not represent a sufficient economic driver or form of investment in the town centre."

7.51pm The planning officer's speech is being interrupted by repeated banging on the door and the sounds of bag pipe playing and a car horn sounding outside.

7.55pm

Two of the expected speakers at the meeting appear to be unable to get in because they are outside. Cllr Barnett trying to calm hall down the hall.

7.59pm

Caramel Quinn speaking of Cleveland Park Aveneu Residents Association asks council to reject planning application.

She said: "Please refuse this planning application. it is what residents want." 8pm Bill Hodgson of McGuffins now speaking in support of the EMD to remain as a cinema.

He said: "The cinema is central to us." He Mentioned that the church has admitted it has recieved 12 offers from buyers.

"So clearly it is commercially viable, despite was UCKG are saying," he added.

"There is no possibility of the community having again such a beautiful landmark as this."

"Whatever decision is made this community says no."

He has urged the council to "make good history" at the meeting and save the cinema.

8.05pm

Loud chants can be heard outside

8.11pm

James Atkinson from Waltham Forest Cinema Trust talks about its proposal to restore the cinema and take it back to its original use.

The plan is to put ownership in the hands of a trust, restore the cinema and offer educational and community programmes.

He said: "We have no doubt a restored cinema will bring success to the area."

8.15pm

Andre Johnson, a former gang member from Walthamstow, talks about how UCKG turned his life around.

He said after his mother passed away when he was 10 he turned towards crime.

He was invited to a football match, sponsored by the church, and met "positive and happy" people, rather than those he surrounded himself with, who were without any goals in life.

His speech is greeted with riotous applause.

8.20pm

Guylene Rennale talks about how her life turned around about four years ago after she came into contact with UCKG.

She said she was previously suicidal after her partner left her alone with a child.

She added: "When I look at my life today, I have a very good job and good life.

"If it was not for UCKG I would not be where I am today."

8.21pm

Pastor Paul Hill's speech has prompted shouts of support and anger.

He said: "We bought the building in 2003 in response to local residents who wanted a help centre near their homes.

"This end remains the same and has not changed whatever the outcome of the meeting.

"In short this cinema is ours.

"There is a pressing need for this centre, as our 3,000 local members show.

He says the site has been chosen because it is central, good transport links and is the right size.

8.40pm

Cllrs Clair Coghill and Mark Rusling have said they collectively represent 20,000 residents and 'not one' person has expressed support for UCKG's application.

Cllr Coghill expressed disappointment that, although she had requested a meeting four times with UCKG representatives, they declined to meet with her.

She said she regarded this as “contempt”.

8.46pm

Members of the planning committee are now speaking.

Cllr Edwin Northover said it was disgraceful the cinema had been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair.

He is not convinced that a cinema is not viable.

But he acknowledged the original application had changed to include community use, he believed that it still excluded some parts of the community.

He added there was a “special interest” to be tapped into with the building.

He said: "The UCKG said it is their building and there has not been a market for it, but that it because they have been sitting on it for ten years refusing to sell it.

"I am touched by the stories (from UCKG supporters), but those life-changing stories are 'incidental' and can happen in other areas of the borough.

He ended by showing his support for officers recommendations.

8.57pm

Cllr Alan Siggers said he acknowledges the cinema belongs to UCKG but added: “What you do with it is not down to you.”

This was followed by rapturous applause from EMD supporters.

Cllr Alan Siggers is not convinced that there are not other facilities to provide help to the community.

He said for UCKG to suggest it is the only one who can provide a specific kind of help “did not sit well” with him.

“A heritage site is a non renewable resource,” he added.

9.04pm

Cllr Siggers has seconded planning officers recommendations Cllr Mahmood has 'no problem' with the church but questoned whether the location was appropriate.

He added: “I personally will not be supporting this application.”

9.10pm

Cllr Liz Phillips says she has “sympathy” for the future congregation of the church because the building was bought 'possibly' with their money in 2003 and nothing has happened.

She added: “I would love it to come back as a cinema”. “I also have to agree with the officers recommendations.”

9.15pm

Cllr Ebony Vincent has also redistered her support for planning officers' recommendation to reject the application.

9.18pm

Councillors have unanimously supported planning officers' recommendation to reject the application.

Audio report: Listen to the crowds chanting:

Comments (23)

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9:53pm Wed 18 May 11

ajay567 says...

GREAT NEWS
GREAT NEWS ajay567

10:16pm Wed 18 May 11

jojojustice says...

At last sense has prevailed and the opinions of true local people have been listened to.
At last sense has prevailed and the opinions of true local people have been listened to. jojojustice

10:20pm Wed 18 May 11

The Stowaway says...

Empty for another ten years then!
Empty for another ten years then! The Stowaway

11:21pm Wed 18 May 11

basillio says...

Well done Mark. The Stowaway's sentiments suggest he'd prefer the decision to go in favour of the church. Or is that his view of the human condition. In which case join the church!
Well done Mark. The Stowaway's sentiments suggest he'd prefer the decision to go in favour of the church. Or is that his view of the human condition. In which case join the church! basillio

11:24pm Wed 18 May 11

Janet1 says...

Once again UCKG members are brought in from god-knows-where to claim they live locally.

Thank you, Waltham Forest councillors, for rejecting this wretched plan, which would have been disastrous for Walthamstow.

Thanks also to the planning officers who took the trouble to investigate this application and make an honest report against it.
Once again UCKG members are brought in from god-knows-where to claim they live locally. Thank you, Waltham Forest councillors, for rejecting this wretched plan, which would have been disastrous for Walthamstow. Thanks also to the planning officers who took the trouble to investigate this application and make an honest report against it. Janet1

11:47pm Wed 18 May 11

no place like stow says...

I was in the hall..the decision was simple; allow Walthamstow to lose another heritage building and therefore its identity as with the dog track. The 'church' already has prominent locations in finsbury park, kilburn and 13 other locations in london...even mcdonalds are struggling to 'franchise' this quickly..

Point remains, local people have voted..and if someone wastes their church members money on a building without checking first whether it can actually be developed into a place of worship is at best naive...the worst totally stupid..why they are fixated on this site only they can answer...but hardly local from the church when seemingly most of their support tonight were making their way back on buses or tubes out of the area...
I was in the hall..the decision was simple; allow Walthamstow to lose another heritage building and therefore its identity as with the dog track. The 'church' already has prominent locations in finsbury park, kilburn and 13 other locations in london...even mcdonalds are struggling to 'franchise' this quickly.. Point remains, local people have voted..and if someone wastes their church members money on a building without checking first whether it can actually be developed into a place of worship is at best naive...the worst totally stupid..why they are fixated on this site only they can answer...but hardly local from the church when seemingly most of their support tonight were making their way back on buses or tubes out of the area... no place like stow

6:11am Thu 19 May 11

class43hst says...

I was one who was there last night.
great news once again.

NOW IS THE THE TIME FOR THE PEOPLE OF STOW TO STAND AND BE COUNTED.

Who is going to start a public meeting as well as a steering group to get what the people needed want and require.

no more waiting no more say oh ye that nice act now.
10 years have passed are we going to let another ten years go on,what then of the building that is now crying out for help let if fall down.
I was one who was there last night. great news once again. NOW IS THE THE TIME FOR THE PEOPLE OF STOW TO STAND AND BE COUNTED. Who is going to start a public meeting as well as a steering group to get what the people needed want and require. no more waiting no more say oh ye that nice act now. 10 years have passed are we going to let another ten years go on,what then of the building that is now crying out for help let if fall down. class43hst

8:13am Thu 19 May 11

peaceful says...

I think we should have a meeting to discuss funding and chase up the ''compulsory order'' is it called? We can't let it sit for another decade. There is a lot of interest. Let's keep up the momentum and get raising funds!
I think we should have a meeting to discuss funding and chase up the ''compulsory order'' is it called? We can't let it sit for another decade. There is a lot of interest. Let's keep up the momentum and get raising funds! peaceful

8:38am Thu 19 May 11

myopinioncounts says...

How much of the interior is still restorable after an illegal rave and years of neglect?
How much of the interior is still restorable after an illegal rave and years of neglect? myopinioncounts

9:10am Thu 19 May 11

JonathanB says...

I was in the crowd outside (in an Alfred Hitchcock mask) and have never been more proud of my local community.

A big 'well done' to the bag pipers who kept our spirits up!
I was in the crowd outside (in an Alfred Hitchcock mask) and have never been more proud of my local community. A big 'well done' to the bag pipers who kept our spirits up! JonathanB

9:28am Thu 19 May 11

RichieA70 says...

Officers, commitee members and councillors who spoke out against the church's plans should all be congratulated, along with the persuasive arguments by pro-cinema speakers and Stella Creasy MP among others.

I share JonathanB's sentiments - the local community have shown their resolve, unity and spirit and fully deserve this outcome.

I urge everyone to keep a watchful eye over the cinema and report any suspicions of trespassing/squatter
s immediately to the council. The UCKG cannot be trusted to look after this building so it's down to us to report any sabotage or evidence of further deterioration.
Officers, commitee members and councillors who spoke out against the church's plans should all be congratulated, along with the persuasive arguments by pro-cinema speakers and Stella Creasy MP among others. I share JonathanB's sentiments - the local community have shown their resolve, unity and spirit and fully deserve this outcome. I urge everyone to keep a watchful eye over the cinema and report any suspicions of trespassing/squatter s immediately to the council. The UCKG cannot be trusted to look after this building so it's down to us to report any sabotage or evidence of further deterioration. RichieA70

9:35am Thu 19 May 11

mdj says...

An excellent result, and very cheering to see so many people turning up to make their voices heard: but we must now be vigilant against a possible flurry of lightning strikes and electrical malfunctions in the area of Hoe St.
An excellent result, and very cheering to see so many people turning up to make their voices heard: but we must now be vigilant against a possible flurry of lightning strikes and electrical malfunctions in the area of Hoe St. mdj

9:35am Thu 19 May 11

Morvern Calling says...

I was so proud last night and now we will hopfully have even more reasons to love living in Walthamstow! The Waltham Forest Cinema Trust have a solid business plan with financial backing: http://www.walthamfo
restcinematrust.org.
uk/
I was so proud last night and now we will hopfully have even more reasons to love living in Walthamstow! The Waltham Forest Cinema Trust have a solid business plan with financial backing: http://www.walthamfo restcinematrust.org. uk/ Morvern Calling

10:16am Thu 19 May 11

McTodd says...

What an electric evening! What an epic victory for local people! What an epic fail for the UCKG!

Poor Pastor Paul, he really didn't help the Church's case during his evidence to the committee when he shouted, "THE CINEMA IS OURS!!!"
What an electric evening! What an epic victory for local people! What an epic fail for the UCKG! Poor Pastor Paul, he really didn't help the Church's case during his evidence to the committee when he shouted, "THE CINEMA IS OURS!!!" McTodd

10:30am Thu 19 May 11

Jeremy_Griffiths says...

I was in the hall. Last night was a victory for the community, a community that last night was filled with yellow-bibbed invaders, frankly. 'Local residents' my foot! The buses and tubes were packed with them - I bet less than 5% of them are from the Stow! Pastor Paul whipped up a frenzy with his 'The cinema is OURS!' rhetoric but the Council now seem energised to make the best use of the building and that means working with the cinema trust. We need to keep fighting hard but lasdt night was a great night for my adopted home of Walthamstow - long live Awesomestow!!
I was in the hall. Last night was a victory for the community, a community that last night was filled with yellow-bibbed invaders, frankly. 'Local residents' my foot! The buses and tubes were packed with them - I bet less than 5% of them are from the Stow! Pastor Paul whipped up a frenzy with his 'The cinema is OURS!' rhetoric but the Council now seem energised to make the best use of the building and that means working with the cinema trust. We need to keep fighting hard but lasdt night was a great night for my adopted home of Walthamstow - long live Awesomestow!! Jeremy_Griffiths

10:32am Thu 19 May 11

no place like stow says...

With people like Pastor Paul...it truly shows the lack of genuine empathy that his 'church' claim to hold dear....

...I am seriously concerned when a group who it has been argued, has misappropriated their own church members' funds in the past as with EMD have no place in a tolerant society.

The reported and alledged role they had within their seven sisters 'branch' of their 'church' during the horrible Climbe case hardly inspires confidence they would reach out to the wider community with a non-judgemental intent as they claimed within their plans last night....

..simply having the funds to bully their way into the borough, simply suggests that they are looking to increase their 'brand' rather than have any purposeful involvement with the residents of the borough..PLEASE CONTINUE TO SAY NO!!
With people like Pastor Paul...it truly shows the lack of genuine empathy that his 'church' claim to hold dear.... ...I am seriously concerned when a group who it has been argued, has misappropriated their own church members' funds in the past as with EMD have no place in a tolerant society. The reported and alledged role they had within their seven sisters 'branch' of their 'church' during the horrible Climbe case hardly inspires confidence they would reach out to the wider community with a non-judgemental intent as they claimed within their plans last night.... ..simply having the funds to bully their way into the borough, simply suggests that they are looking to increase their 'brand' rather than have any purposeful involvement with the residents of the borough..PLEASE CONTINUE TO SAY NO!! no place like stow

2:23pm Thu 19 May 11

daveWood says...

Common sense at last. The cars that 'church' goers would bring to an area not equipped to deal with them will cause traffic chaos and accidents. local people going to a cinema are more likely to walk or travel their by bus. Plus they wouldn't all arrive and leave at the same time created hell for Hoe Street and local residents. The UKCG is a big busness not a local amenity.
Common sense at last. The cars that 'church' goers would bring to an area not equipped to deal with them will cause traffic chaos and accidents. local people going to a cinema are more likely to walk or travel their by bus. Plus they wouldn't all arrive and leave at the same time created hell for Hoe Street and local residents. The UKCG is a big busness not a local amenity. daveWood

10:20pm Thu 19 May 11

Janet1 says...

Jeremy_Griffiths wrote:
I was in the hall. Last night was a victory for the community, a community that last night was filled with yellow-bibbed invaders, frankly. 'Local residents' my foot! The buses and tubes were packed with them - I bet less than 5% of them are from the Stow! Pastor Paul whipped up a frenzy with his 'The cinema is OURS!' rhetoric but the Council now seem energised to make the best use of the building and that means working with the cinema trust. We need to keep fighting hard but lasdt night was a great night for my adopted home of Walthamstow - long live Awesomestow!!
"Awesomestow" - yes! I love it. And "No Place Like Stow".

This is a wonderful place to live. (Maybe those "local" UCKG supporters should try living here too?)

Getting our cinema back could be the start of revitalising our town centre. Come on council - you did the right thing yesterday. Now let's push on and bring our beautiful Granada cinema back to life.
[quote][p][bold]Jeremy_Griffiths[/bold] wrote: I was in the hall. Last night was a victory for the community, a community that last night was filled with yellow-bibbed invaders, frankly. 'Local residents' my foot! The buses and tubes were packed with them - I bet less than 5% of them are from the Stow! Pastor Paul whipped up a frenzy with his 'The cinema is OURS!' rhetoric but the Council now seem energised to make the best use of the building and that means working with the cinema trust. We need to keep fighting hard but lasdt night was a great night for my adopted home of Walthamstow - long live Awesomestow!![/p][/quote]"Awesomestow" - yes! I love it. And "No Place Like Stow". This is a wonderful place to live. (Maybe those "local" UCKG supporters should try living here too?) Getting our cinema back could be the start of revitalising our town centre. Come on council - you did the right thing yesterday. Now let's push on and bring our beautiful Granada cinema back to life. Janet1

10:21pm Thu 19 May 11

organman2000 says...

Now the council just has to use their statutory powers to enforce the UKCG to do all the essential maintenance on the building.
Now the council just has to use their statutory powers to enforce the UKCG to do all the essential maintenance on the building. organman2000

10:45pm Thu 19 May 11

Success says...

The UCKG members, some are residents of the Walthamstow borough, are here and are here to stay. I have two questions, which is, where did this situation start? Was it not the council who placed the EMD cinema on the market for sale, and why did the council sell the EMD cinema to the UCKG, knowing they are a church in the first place.

The council are at fault not the UCKG so direct your comments (rude) to the council, not the UCKG.
The UCKG members, some are residents of the Walthamstow borough, are here and are here to stay. I have two questions, which is, where did this situation start? Was it not the council who placed the EMD cinema on the market for sale, and why did the council sell the EMD cinema to the UCKG, knowing they are a church in the first place. The council are at fault not the UCKG so direct your comments (rude) to the council, not the UCKG. Success

11:19pm Thu 19 May 11

Janet1 says...

Success wrote:
The UCKG members, some are residents of the Walthamstow borough, are here and are here to stay. I have two questions, which is, where did this situation start? Was it not the council who placed the EMD cinema on the market for sale, and why did the council sell the EMD cinema to the UCKG, knowing they are a church in the first place.

The council are at fault not the UCKG so direct your comments (rude) to the council, not the UCKG.
The council never owned the cinema. The cinema was sold by its businessman owner because the UCKG offered him double the market price.

The UCKG is a huge and wealthy multinational organisation, so it could easily afford the inflated price, believing that it could browbeat the local council into allowing change of use.

Its plan failed. The council has always rejected the UCKG's applications. Time to give up on this one, UCKG.
[quote][p][bold]Success[/bold] wrote: The UCKG members, some are residents of the Walthamstow borough, are here and are here to stay. I have two questions, which is, where did this situation start? Was it not the council who placed the EMD cinema on the market for sale, and why did the council sell the EMD cinema to the UCKG, knowing they are a church in the first place. The council are at fault not the UCKG so direct your comments (rude) to the council, not the UCKG.[/p][/quote]The council never owned the cinema. The cinema was sold by its businessman owner because the UCKG offered him double the market price. The UCKG is a huge and wealthy multinational organisation, so it could easily afford the inflated price, believing that it could browbeat the local council into allowing change of use. Its plan failed. The council has always rejected the UCKG's applications. Time to give up on this one, UCKG. Janet1

1:18am Fri 20 May 11

Jeremy_Griffiths says...

Success wrote:
The UCKG members, some are residents of the Walthamstow borough, are here and are here to stay. I have two questions, which is, where did this situation start? Was it not the council who placed the EMD cinema on the market for sale, and why did the council sell the EMD cinema to the UCKG, knowing they are a church in the first place.

The council are at fault not the UCKG so direct your comments (rude) to the council, not the UCKG.
Where are these mythical thousands of Walthamstow UCKG members? If there are any it is a mere handful. The Councillors and resident's groups have made it clear, that UCKG members have never made themselves known in consultations etc to stick up for the Church beyond a mere handful - 11 people I think it was, out of a Borough of over 200,000. Now I'm not the brightest fellah in the world but that seems to me a vanishingly small percentage. The people at the meeting last night in their ridiculous yellow bibs were NOT local residents. No one was fooled by that shoddy display.

I suggest to you that the UCKG are hugely at fault for buying a building which they were highly unlikely ever to get planning permission for; for allowing a grade 2* listed building to decay and fall into English Heritage's 'At Risk' list; and for showing a blatantly un-christian attitude by treating the local community with utter contempt over this issue. Further, last night they insulted the work of the social, medical and mental health networks in the Borough by strongly implying that Waltham Forest desperately needed the help that only the UCKG could give. Well sorry, when they say 'Training and Help Centre' I read 'Brainwashing'.

The Council *have never* owned the cinema. If you want to mount a defence of the UCKG you'll have to do better than your arguments in your post today. In my view their conduct is indefensible and worthy of the most severe censure and criticism. And believe me, there are many dedicated people in the Borough who will not allow our community to be bullied by a rich organisation like the UCKG who think they can throw money at a situation and get their own way. Not in E17, pal.
[quote][p][bold]Success[/bold] wrote: The UCKG members, some are residents of the Walthamstow borough, are here and are here to stay. I have two questions, which is, where did this situation start? Was it not the council who placed the EMD cinema on the market for sale, and why did the council sell the EMD cinema to the UCKG, knowing they are a church in the first place. The council are at fault not the UCKG so direct your comments (rude) to the council, not the UCKG.[/p][/quote]Where are these mythical thousands of Walthamstow UCKG members? If there are any it is a mere handful. The Councillors and resident's groups have made it clear, that UCKG members have never made themselves known in consultations etc to stick up for the Church beyond a mere handful - 11 people I think it was, out of a Borough of over 200,000. Now I'm not the brightest fellah in the world but that seems to me a vanishingly small percentage. The people at the meeting last night in their ridiculous yellow bibs were NOT local residents. No one was fooled by that shoddy display. I suggest to you that the UCKG are hugely at fault for buying a building which they were highly unlikely ever to get planning permission for; for allowing a grade 2* listed building to decay and fall into English Heritage's 'At Risk' list; and for showing a blatantly un-christian attitude by treating the local community with utter contempt over this issue. Further, last night they insulted the work of the social, medical and mental health networks in the Borough by strongly implying that Waltham Forest desperately needed the help that only the UCKG could give. Well sorry, when they say 'Training and Help Centre' I read 'Brainwashing'. The Council *have never* owned the cinema. If you want to mount a defence of the UCKG you'll have to do better than your arguments in your post today. In my view their conduct is indefensible and worthy of the most severe censure and criticism. And believe me, there are many dedicated people in the Borough who will not allow our community to be bullied by a rich organisation like the UCKG who think they can throw money at a situation and get their own way. Not in E17, pal. Jeremy_Griffiths

10:39pm Fri 20 May 11

thecinemaisours says...

I agree an again say that having looked at the highly qualified experience of Members elected to the revamped Save our Cinema campaign, i have for the first time in months felt very confident that the cinema actually can be saved! I felt a little on the back foot as on paper the Church own it but after the unprecedented turn out on Wednesday of the Mcguffin's there is now a real prospect of the Councillors engaging brain, getting into top gear and forcing a Compulsory Purchase Order. even if it takes 20 years we know now that all is not lost and that with the newly formed Committee we can strive to achieve results where the likes of Loakes have let us down by throwing in the towell.

I had such a great day on Wednesday. I arrived early and had a wander around the Town Hall and saw the plaque of a V2 rocket within the foyer.

After our great victory I thought back to that plaque and felt that like we fought outsiders during WW2, we are in a sort of (local) way doing it again and in tribute to those victims of that V2 rocket all those years ago. Well done! let us continue to save our beautiful and fantastic building and brind down the church campaign!
I agree an again say that having looked at the highly qualified experience of Members elected to the revamped Save our Cinema campaign, i have for the first time in months felt very confident that the cinema actually can be saved! I felt a little on the back foot as on paper the Church own it but after the unprecedented turn out on Wednesday of the Mcguffin's there is now a real prospect of the Councillors engaging brain, getting into top gear and forcing a Compulsory Purchase Order. even if it takes 20 years we know now that all is not lost and that with the newly formed Committee we can strive to achieve results where the likes of Loakes have let us down by throwing in the towell. I had such a great day on Wednesday. I arrived early and had a wander around the Town Hall and saw the plaque of a V2 rocket within the foyer. After our great victory I thought back to that plaque and felt that like we fought outsiders during WW2, we are in a sort of (local) way doing it again and in tribute to those victims of that V2 rocket all those years ago. Well done! let us continue to save our beautiful and fantastic building and brind down the church campaign! thecinemaisours

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