Plan to turn picture palace into church

News Shopper (England), Oct. 22, 2002

LEWISHAM’S only cinema is set to be turned into a church and conference centre, leaving film buffs no movie facilities in the entire borough.

The ABC cinema, in Bromley Road, Catford, has been bought by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), an international <A HREF="javascript:void(0);" onmouseover="return overlib('Theologically, the UCKG is a cult of Christianity‘, CAPTION, ‘Link Info…’, HAUTO, VAUTO, SNAPX, ‘5’);” onmouseout=”return nd();”>evangelical church.

It has applied for permission from Lewisham Council to turn the cinema into a place of worship, conference centre, exhibition hall, library and creche.

Lewisham’s member for culture, Councillor Alyson McGarrigle, wants the site as a public amenity and says the church and conference centre does not meet those needs. She said: “We have had deep concerns for some time that there is no cinema in the borough it would be our preferred option.”

Local residents are also angry. Margaret Greaves, of Newquay Road, said: “I work with youth groups and now there is nowhere nearby to take them for an outing.

“So many people were looking forward to the cinema re-opening and they will be very disappointed.”

The cinema has been closed for almost a year but residents and councillors were hoping it would reopen and include a bar, restaurant and offices.

Councillor Robert Massey, a planning committee member, assured residents their views will be considered and any decision will be made on planning grounds regarding cultural and other amenities in the borough.

A spokesman for UCKG church said: “We are looking forward to making a valuable contribution to the south London community as we have done wherever our centres are based.”

The consultation period has finished, but members of the public can still attend the planning meeting. No date has so far been set.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday October 23, 2002.
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