A controversial proposed new venue backed by Premier League stars cut its planned opening hours just days before a licensing application was set to be considered.
Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling have invested in La Sala, which is bidding to open a restaurant and bar in Chigwell Road, Woodford Green.
But after residents raised concerns about late night disruption from the venue if it were allowed to trade until 2am every day, the owners submitted an alternative proposal on Friday, which would see it stay open until 1.30am on Friday and Saturday - and 12.30am every other day.
The amendment also states that the venue would not operate as a nightclub and there would be no new admissions after 11pm when the earlier closing times were in operation and midnight on Friday and Saturday.
The application was discussed at a licensing sub-committee meeting yesterday, but a decision was deferred.
Residents who formally objected to the plans included Lesley Turner, of Gwynne Park Avenue.
She said: “This venue is in a village like location and therefore should be in keeping with its surroundings. It is amongst a highly residential area and this should be respected as such.”
The owners of La Sala have distanced themselves from the company of the same name operating a venue in Puerto Banus, Marbella, which is locked in a dispute with neighbours over claims of noise disturbance.
A meeting organised by opponents to the venue in Spain was held in South Woodford earlier this month.
The group said they would back any legal bid by residents opposed to the Chigwell Road venue.
It emerged that an unnamed super-rich Russian who owns a villa close to the Spanish venue was leading the opposition.
In a sworn statement, La Sala operations director, Richard Wheller said: “La Sala UK has no financial relationship with La Sala in Spain and entirely different management structures.”
However, the company's promotional material says: “La Sala in Puerto Banus is famed as a celebrity haunt, having welcomed everyone from Premier League footballers to celebrity chefs and members of the royal family. La Sala Chigwell will be no different.”
The licensing committee is due to reconvene on August 26 at Ilford town hall.
For more on this story see this week's Guardian - out Thursday.