The former EMD cinema in Walthamstow has been sold by  its evangelical church owner, ending a long-running saga over the future of the grade II-listed building. 

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) has confirmed the deal was finalised on November 3 with the unnamed buyer.

The cinema was closed in 2002 and purchased by UCKG which hoped to convert it into a place of worship, prompting a long-runing community campaign calling for it to remain as a public-access entertainment venue.

Following two failed UCKG planning applications to change the building's use and an independent report which said the venue could play a pivotal role in the regeneration of the area, Waltham Forest council declared it was prepared to use a compulsory purchase order to bring it back into use.

UCKG has confirmed the sale but has not named the buyer. It said the new owner plans to reinstate the buidling as a mixed entertainment venue.

Soho Theatre working had been working with Waltham Forest Cinema Trust on a plan to purchase the venue and reopen it as an entertainment venue.

UCKG HelpCentre’s property acquisitions manager, Paul Hill, said:  “This amounts to a pragmatic solution that should satisfy all concerned. 

“When the buyer approached us the property was not on the market. However we gave the offer due consideration – as we have done with all unsolicited offers we received over the years – and the Trustees decided to go ahead as it would free us to pursue other routes to establishing a HelpCentre somewhere in Walthamstow.”

The church said an agreement over the price distinguished the latest offer from previous attempts to purchase the site, adding the deal did not invlove any public funds.

“Clearly this makes sense all round,” Mr Hill added. 

“We remain totally committed to opening a HelpCentre in Walthamstow, in response to demand from people in the area who value the support we give.

“Without the responsibility and cost of maintaining the former cinema at the level that prevents further deterioration, as we have done ever since buying it in early 2003, we are freed up and hopeful of finding another suitable building in the area.”