Restaurant backed by England stars Raheem Sterling of Liverpool FC and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain of Aresenal in bitter dispute with super-rich Russian

The La Sala restaurant in Marbella

The La Sala restaurant in Marbella

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Wanstead & Woodford

A bitter battle between a controversial Marbella restaurant backed by Premiership footballers and a residents group bankrolled by a Russian millionaire came to Woodford Bridge last night.

La Sala, which lists England stars Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain as investors, is hoping to open a restaurant in Chigwell Road.

But Villa Marina Action Group (VMAG), which is calling for La Sala’s activities to be limited in Spain due to claims of excessive noise and anti-social behaviour, last night warned a public meeting the problems would be repeated if the new restaurant opened at the site recently occupied by Deuce’s.

VMAG is financed by an unnamed Russian, who owns 15 of the 20 villas which neighbour the Marbella restaurant.

As well as claims of noise and disruption, it is understood he is also in dispute with La Sala over building plans.

David Lott of VMAG travelled to London to chair the meeting at Menzies Prince Regent Hotel in Manor Road to offer to represent residents opposed to the La Sala’s 2am licence application for free.

The meeting, attended by about 60 people, including a lawyer for La Sala, was filmed by VMAG.

Residents’ views on the late license were mixed, with some questioning VMAG’s involvement in the Chigwell Road proposal.

Kelly Piegle, 56, of Owen Gardens, said: “We are being railroaded into one way of thinking.

“I have been to Marbella branch of La Sala and I enjoyed the Michael Buble tributes but I probably wouldn’t stay till 2 am.”

Richard Lorraine, 47, Rose Tree Mews, said he feared existing problems in the area would be worsened

He added: “On our mews we have had drug dealing, sex and people urinating on my car.”

“That was when Deuce’s was running it, which was never at full capacity.

“You have to multiply that by however many people will show up at La Sala.”

Councillor Paul Canal has accused the VMAG of manipulating residents.

He said: “I understand last night’s meeting was arranged by a resident of Marbella acting for a UK property magnate who is himself acting for a Russian consortium who are trying to buy land in Marbella, owned by la Sala in Spain. 

"I believe they have been rebuffed and this UK campaign is designed to apply pressure.

“They have no genuine interest in Woodford Bridge and are using us as a proxy for their property battle in Spain.

“They would happily let the derelict White Hart rot.

“Our approach is in the best interests of residents in Woodford Bridge, and puts their interests before those of millionaire investors in Marbella.”

David Dadds counsel for La Sala said: “In my experience, I have never seen anyone from outside of the UK organise a meeting like this for their own agenda.”

Redbridge Council is due to decide on the application on August 18.

La Salsa chairman James Horler insisted the company brand in Spain has no bearing on his business in the UK.

He said: “We will be a 70 per cent food led restaurant and have put in £1.5 million into the building.”

“The complaints made by VMAG are at a premises which has an average age of 23, where we are aiming for a clientele with an average age of 47.”

“It will not be a nightclub.”

Comments (7)

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3:27pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Villagecranberry says...

How on earth was this meeting allowed to go ahead? Utter madness. Trouble before it is even open?

Sounds like a disaster in the wings, another Mojos?
How on earth was this meeting allowed to go ahead? Utter madness. Trouble before it is even open? Sounds like a disaster in the wings, another Mojos? Villagecranberry
  • Score: -1

3:29pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Democrat1 says...

What a farce.... did they really think that we had stepped off the proverbial Bannana Boat.......
What a farce.... did they really think that we had stepped off the proverbial Bannana Boat....... Democrat1
  • Score: 1

3:31pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Democrat1 says...

And if they are only going to be a Restaurant why are they already advertising for 'Performers' a like the use of the loose term could mean anything on their UK website.

Come on guys wake up smell the coffee you could see it a mile off after 5 minutes of the meeting last night, good old Mr Lott helping out the Residents of Woodford, should really have been giving sweets out e.t.c to soften the audience up a bit more
And if they are only going to be a Restaurant why are they already advertising for 'Performers' a like the use of the loose term could mean anything on their UK website. Come on guys wake up smell the coffee you could see it a mile off after 5 minutes of the meeting last night, good old Mr Lott helping out the Residents of Woodford, should really have been giving sweets out e.t.c to soften the audience up a bit more Democrat1
  • Score: 2

4:46pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Democrat1 says...

I have Just Applied To Play Live Music at the opening of ' La Sala' til 2am on the opening night........ no problem they said they are sending the contract out tonight..... deal done

Let's get the party started in Woodford
It's Getting Hot In Here lets go outside on the Roof Terrace and Cause a load of noise and take off our clothes

I thought it was only a Restaurant application my ars..e
I have Just Applied To Play Live Music at the opening of ' La Sala' til 2am on the opening night........ no problem they said they are sending the contract out tonight..... deal done Let's get the party started in Woodford It's Getting Hot In Here lets go outside on the Roof Terrace and Cause a load of noise and take off our clothes I thought it was only a Restaurant application my ars..e Democrat1
  • Score: 1

8:12pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Democrat1 says...

Hey where all the comments gone?
Hey where all the comments gone? Democrat1
  • Score: -1

10:31pm Thu 24 Jul 14

ChazFinch says...

Is this all for an episode of TOWIE?
Is this all for an episode of TOWIE? ChazFinch
  • Score: 0

9:27am Sun 27 Jul 14

Concerned58 says...

Dear Barnaby
I'm your article I was surprised to see you did not actually report on the residents views.

The point of the meeting was to see what local residents thought about the Lasala's aim of running a a restaurant say until 10 or 11 and then being able to run their proposed "NIGHTCLUB CONCEPT"
open until 2 am 7 days a week including
Special licenses until 3am Live music DJ's and therefore causing the associated anti-social noise vomiting fighting etc in local streets until 3am or 4am 7 days a week.

Generally everyone thought a good family restaurant was a good use of the abandoned old White Heart

However by a show of hands at the end of the meeting the local residents stated very clearly that
80% were opposed to the 2am license.
25% were opposed to any license
4 people supported 2am

You wrote mixed views
Surly this was a bit misleading

There was overwhelming opposition to 2am drinking license
Perhaps you should report these facts
Dear Barnaby I'm your article I was surprised to see you did not actually report on the residents views. The point of the meeting was to see what local residents thought about the Lasala's aim of running a a restaurant say until 10 or 11 and then being able to run their proposed "NIGHTCLUB CONCEPT" open until 2 am 7 days a week including Special licenses until 3am Live music DJ's and therefore causing the associated anti-social noise vomiting fighting etc in local streets until 3am or 4am 7 days a week. Generally everyone thought a good family restaurant was a good use of the abandoned old White Heart However by a show of hands at the end of the meeting the local residents stated very clearly that 80% were opposed to the 2am license. 25% were opposed to any license 4 people supported 2am You wrote mixed views Surly this was a bit misleading There was overwhelming opposition to 2am drinking license Perhaps you should report these facts Concerned58
  • Score: 0

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