CAMPAIGNERS fear for a cinema’s future – even though its owners say there are no plans to sell the lease.

Film lovers feared the Odeon in South Woodford would close and be turned into flats after it was bought by property investment firm LaSalle in December.

It purchased the land from Sainsburys for £36.75 million and let it out on a new 25-year lease to the supermarket.

But the company told the Guardian in a statement: “We acquired the 4.2-acre site that includes the ODEON in South Woodford, at the end of 2017 as a long term investment.

"The entire site is let on a new 25-year lease to Sainsbury’s and there are currently no plans to buy out that lease.”

Other shops on the site include Boots, Lizard Lounge, Timpson, Cardcraft and children’s shop Sid and Evie’s.

Despite the news, campaigners are cautiously optimistic.

Joel Herga, one of the South Woodford Conservatives, launched a petition to help secure its future.

Mr Herga claims businesses in the wider area would suffer if the cinema shut.

He says: “It would be terrible for the area if the lease wasn’t renewed. Three generations of my family have gone there. I have had birthdays there. I have been so many times so it means a lot to me. I want to save it from a personal perspective and for the community.

“A lot of people come from outside of South Woodford and eat at the restaurants in George Lane so they bring money to the area.

“The town will lose money because they won’t come if it’s not there.”

Mr Herga urged people to get behind the campaign if they want to protect the cinema.

He argues: “If people want to protect this local community asset, protect jobs and keep George Lane thriving then they should back the campaign.

“This petition is raising awareness about the issue and will put pressure on the owners to commit to looking at a new lease. We want them to keep it a cinema.”

Campaigners plan to submit both the online and hard copies of the petitions to the owners after a month, as well as write a letter asking them to commit to keeping the cinema.

So far, 4,478 people have signed the online version.

If campaigners don’t get assurances about the cinema’s future, Mr Herga says they will consider making the Odeon an asset of community value.

A spokeswoman for the Odeon said: “We’re very proud of our fantastic cinema in South Woodford and look forward to continuing to provide great service and all the latest and best entertainment for years to come.”

The Odeon opened in South Woodford in 1934.

Click here to see the petition.