Last night, Wednesday 19th November, saw the opening of Empire Cinema in Walthamstow. It was launched in red-carpet style at the new development near Walthamstow Market, The Scene.
People gathered to watch the opening of this cinema in Waltham Forest – one of two boroughs in London that had not housed a cinema, till now (the other being Lewisham).
Justin Ribbons, CEO of Empire Cinemas, said: “After months of planning and hard work, we’re delighted to have Empire Cinemas Walthamstow up and running, and open to the public as of today. We couldn’t have hoped for a better opening event to launch the cinema, with attendance from business partners, celebrities, the council, friends and family.”
460 VIP guests were invited to a special screening of the The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Some big guests attending included actress Olivia Hallinan, singers A*M*E and Delilah, Britain’s Got Talent’s The Loveable Rogues and Rudimental’s DJ Locksmith. Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Chris Robbins, and Mayor Terry Wheeler were also there.
Cllr Robbins said: “This has been a personal priority for me and is the culmination of many years work. Not only will local residents have a state-of-the-art cinema on their doorstep, but the new restaurants will help create a real destination for people all over Waltham Forest to enjoy a night out.”
Two local films from the ‘Reel Walthamstow’ film commission project were also screened in the cinema.
The Scene at Cleveland Place is the catalyst for on-going regeneration of Walthamstow. A joint mixed use venture between Hill Residential, Waltham Forest Council and Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association, the scheme redefines Walthamstow as a new leisure destination for north East London by delivering a new 1200 seat 9 screen Empire Cinema, 5 new commercial units including Nandos and Pizza Express restaurants and 121 new homes.
Andy Hill, CEO of Hill, the developers of The Scene at Cleveland Place, commented: “Walthamstow hasn’t had a cinema for over 12 years, making it one of just two boroughs in the whole of London without that facility, so we are delighted to have been able to change that.
“Not only has the cinema created 35 permanent jobs, but the additional shops and restaurants will lead to the creation of over 100 jobs and economic growth. As well as providing 121 new apartments across a range of tenures, this iconic scheme is going to become an entertainment destination for everyone in the area to enjoy and will play a significant role as a catalyst for even further regeneration in Walthamstow town centre.”