This may come as a surprise to some, but the end has arrived for the original Wanstead Kinema with the start of the building’s demolition.
Only those who monitor planning news closely will have realised permission was granted this summer for the knocking down of the building which housed Wanstead’s cinema until 1956, and latterly a snooker hall and then the Nam Am restaurant.
Though the redevelopment means the end of one of the High Street’s oldest buildings, it does mean the creation of two new four-storey buildings on the site giving a shopfront on the High Street and some housing – three three-bedroom flats, three two-bedroom flats and two one-bedroom flats.
The designs are by Platform 5 Architects from Hackney and seem, when compared to an earlier view of the building, to be not dissimilar. The architects say the plan has been “carefully crafted to fit into its sensitive context and echoes the vernacular building forms in order to maintain the village character of the street”.
The demolition comes after a number of attempts at obtaining planning permission – one of which in 2010 was rejected with the verdict that it involved the “inappropriate and unjustified demolition of a modest and relatively simple Victorian building”.
Update, Friday: Wansteadium reader AJS Sends this photo and writes: “Not much left of the back hall yesterday.. and agree it’s a shame the plans couldn’t have included a revamped Purbani’s.
*Fans of cinema need not be too sad. The spirit of the Wanstead Kinema long ago left that building, and now resides at wansteadkinema.org. If you’d like to get involved in future screenings, please get in contact via that page.