La Sala applies for shorter opening hours at TOWIE restaurant ahead of licensing hearing
PUBLISHED: 07:01 20 August 2014
A decision on the future of a controversial TOWIE-inspired restaurant backed by Premiership football stars will be made on Tuesday.
The Spanish La Sala restaurant chain has applied to open the new venture at the former White Hart Pub in Chigwell Road, Woodford Green, after finding fame when its Marbella outlet appeared on reality television show The Only Way Is Essex.
After announcing the former Chigwell Road pub would be the location for its “English invasion”, residents and councillors voiced opposition to the proposals for a late-night venue.
But on Friday, just days before its licensing hearing was due to begin, La Sala submitted an alternative proposal with reduced operating hours. Instead of applying to operate until 2am every day, the owners have now applied for it stay open until 1.30am on Friday and Saturday and 12.30am through the week.
Redbridge Council discussed the application at a meeting on Monday but the hearing was adjourned until Tuesday (August 26).
Cllr Paul Canal, who represents the Bridge ward, said there had been discussions over introducing the Westminster condition, which would mean alcohol could only be served with food.
He said: “The key issue for my residents is they don’t want to have a reincarnation of the disaster which was [former Woodford Green nightclub] Deuces.
“They are very aware of the huge battle we had over Funky Mojoes.
“We must get it right at the start.”
He said residents were keen to see a restaurant at the former pub but had feared a TOWIE-style nightclub.
“It will create 30 jobs – that has to be a good thing, but it’s a balance,” he said.
Jon Wheeler, of Purleigh Avenue, had objected to the proposals, saying the establishment would “harm our community”.
“Every time there has been an establishment that services alcohol until the early hours of the morning we have had problems with noise, drunken aggressive behaviour, people being sick and urinating in the street and anti-social behaviour,” he said.
Other residents said a restaurant-only venue with a licence until 11pm would be acceptable.
Sandra Slater of Roding Lane North said she could see “no end of trouble” if a later licence was permitted.
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