It's ten years ago this week since we reported on plans to partly return a historic Walthamstow building to its original use.

The Christian group which owns Walthamstow's historic former EMD building now wants to reopen it as both a cinema and a church, it is claimed.

The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) bought and closed the listed cinema in 2003, and has been trying to get permission to convert it for religious use ever since.

The UCKG's bid was refused by the council last year and an appeal against that decision was due to be heard by the government's planning inspectorate in June.

The council planning committee rejected the application partly because it contained no provision for the loss of leisure use at the site.

But now the UCKG has amended its application for the building in Hoe Street to include a church, training centre, cafe and six screen cinema.

The planning inspectorate has said the alterations are so extensive that the UCKG must re-apply for permission from the council within the next month.

Campaign group The McGuffin Film Society, which wants to see the building returned to its original use, expressed caution at the news.

Spokesman Bill Hodgson said: "Our objective is to see cinema restored to the EMD and obviously we’ll judge any new planning application on its merits.

“But UCKG has had nine years to include a cinema in its proposals and to suddenly do so now looks like a cynical ploy to circumvent the planning process.

"UCKG employed this tactic once before to obtain permission for a similar cinema conversion in south London and then completely failed to deliver on their commitments”.

Mr Hodgson cited a successful 2005 appeal by UCKG plans over plans to convert Catford’s ABC Cinema, saying seven years on there is a church but still no proper cinema at the site.

The Waltham Forest Cinema Trust, a group led by figures including Mr Hodgson and former Walthamstow MP Neil Gerrard, wants the UCKG to sell them the building so they can reopen it as a cinema.

There are also plans to open a new multi-screen cinema on the Arcade Site next to the former EMD in Hoe Street.

Last month the UCKG repainted part of the outside of the building and took down the scaffolding outside it.

No-one from UCKG was available for comment this morning.