Many readers will know of my long time interest and
involvement in fighting for the future of the EMD cinema on Hoe Street.
This campaign started back in 2003 following proposals by the current
owners the United Church of the Kingdom of God to convert the building
into a place of worship. I have always believed that this landmark
building is a key venue in our town centre, an area that needs places
and spaces for the development of an evening economy which is critical
to bringing new jobs and spending to our local area.

Following
their unsuccessful attempt to do so in 2003, the UCKG have now
submitted a further application for planning permission to convert the
building into a church. Having viewed this new application I believe it
should be refused because it will not contribute to the regeneration of
Walthamstow. Whilst the UCKG state within their application that their
facility would offer a boost to the local night time economy, they
provide no data or independent evidence to support this argument.
Indeed, whether the Rainbow at Finsbury Park or the former ABC cinema
in Catford, we have seen in other parts of London that converting
premises into UCKG Help Centres offers little to benefit to the social
and economic prosperity of a local area.

The decision as to
whether to give permission for this development rests with the local
authority planning committee - that is why I will be writing to them to
ask them to reject these proposals. If you wish to find out more about
alternative uses which would be more likely to contribute to the
economic and social regeneration of Walthamstow’s Town Centre,
including the independent cinema operator seeking to buy the building,
you may wish to join me at the McGuffins Day of Action at the Rose and
Crown Pub on Sunday 13 September. It will start at 3pm, include films
suitable for all the family and will include a special guest appearance
from Ed Tudor Pole, star of The Crystal Maze. For more details visit
this website.



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