Marbella restaurant food fight

LAST UPDATED: 17 Oct, 2013 @ 06:07
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Marbella restaurant food fight

WHEN neighbours Carole Hewitt and Isabel Greenwood moved to the Marbella hills, above La Canada shopping centre, 13 years ago there was nothing but peace and quiet.

Their villas looked upon protected woodlands above and sea views below. It was idyllic, until one of the properties transformed into a restaurant, the Nueva Kaskada, and ruined their tranquility.

Now the British pair are in a constant battle with the German owner, Ewald Fichthaler and the town hall, and it is taking over their lives with claims of noise, parking issues and even abuse from diners and staff.

Making over a dozen complaints about noise this year alone, they are furious that the town hall and police are doing nothing to clamp down on the restaurant.

However, the twist in the story is that Fichthaler, a former chef for the British royal family who trained with Anton Mosimann, believes he is also a victim.

Already fined by the town hall for noise infraction, he has been forced to put in new sound barriers and keep the music level below two decibels.

“We have limiters on the premises, which cuts music when the music gets too loud,” he explained. “And, of course, we finish the music at midnight; we have to pay them more after 12!”

He also claims to have gone out of his way to appease the neighbours since taking over the lease two years ago.

But, last night, he admitted that he had pretty much given up and confirmed that he had recently successfully sued them for harassment.

After the trial earlier this year the two women were found guilty of harassment, and are expecting their fines of €1000- €1500.

“It is terrible. I can’t walk away from my car without them being there,” he said. “I don’t want any more problems and I have told my staff not to go near them.

“They will not be happy until I have been forced to close.”

The battle with Fichthaler – who counts Shirley Bassey and other celebrities as friends – began when the restaurant was given a ‘temporary’ license to play music from the town hall soon after it opened.

Renewed each year, the license states that the restaurant is allowed music from 1pm until midnight, seven days a week, and live music twice a week. But Fichthaler insists he doesn’t take advantage of the license and that the restaurant only has live shows twice a week, unless there is an event such as a wedding.

The neighbours however, cannot understand how the license gets renewed when there are so many complaints against the restaurant.

Hewitt, from North Wales, has put through no less than 10 denuncias against the restaurant this year and last week alone called the police three times as music played past midnight.

“How can the town hall call it temporary when they give a license for eight and half months a year, with automatic renewal, playing music 10 hours plus a day?”

She claims to have had various meetings with councillors over the matter and has submitted video proof to the town hall.

Most annoying of all, she claims, they have only sent noise inspectors out during the day and not during the night, when police have ‘frequently’ been called.

Oddly though, when the Olive Press contacted Marbella town hall, it claimed not to have seen the video and a spokesman insisted they had been ‘more than generous’ in dealing with complaints.

It added that it had already fined the owner and insisted he put in better sound-proofing.

But the neighbours insist the case boils down to one thing: money. “These problems are serious,” said Hewitt. “We live in a Type II area, which means that it is sensitive to a high level of noise and the town hall should be more concerned.

“There is no doubt the town hall is benefiting from allowing this restaurant to remain open. We hope people understand our plight.”

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7 COMMENTS

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  1. you´re right Ad,a restaurant has been on the site for years, its a great place and the owner is a very gentle person. Its always unfortunate to have trouble with neighbours.

  2. The houses existed 28 years before the restaurant (a converted 3 bedroom house) opened 2001 The trout farm has not existed since 2005. The provable facts are that hardship has been caused to neighbours due to irregular actions of Town Hall. The licence was granted without the legally required environmental report, a change of operator was granted on an expired licence. The licence states “Restaurante – SIN MUSICA” but the Town Hall circumvents this by granting music authorisations to the bar ignoring that a bar with music is not allowed in a residential area. This music is amplified to night club level on a terrace 4-1/2 metres from the bedroom of the closest house. Regional and Municipal laws forbid these activities on terraces and Police levy fines which the Town Hall reduces. The article omits that civil and criminal cases are currently pending against the Town Hall – no one goes to these lengths and expense without good reason. Capacity of 323 granted with NO parking in an area where street parking reduces traffic to one-way on a country road with sharp curves, an unprotected drop to the valley below on one side, and no street lights. It is the only access road and this is a densely forested high fire risk area with a major fire only last July. No verdict has yet been given on the harrassment claim and a “guilty” verdict will be vehemently contested as we were effectively denied our right to legal representation. Our “crime” was to ask the restaurant to lower the music and to call the police when they did not. An identical claim last year was dismissed due to no validity or proof. One of the “accused women” filed a simultaneous complaint about a physical attack from a musician at the restaurant on the same night which has still not been heard 2-1/2 months later, yet the restaurant’s complaint was scheduled for a hearing less than 3 hours after it was filed – how strange! Fichthaler feels victimised because he has been required to put in sound barriers – this is what he’s supposed to do. He has not yet complied. Now that he has been promoted from chef to manager he should stop whining and face his responsibilities like an adult. Olive Press has been requested to publish a retraction of the final two paragraphs attributing statements to me which were never made and represent only the opinion of the reporter.

  3. I dined several times at La Kascada under the prior Owner -good food, service, trout stream, only parking for 4-6 cars and no music. The residents’ villas were there WAY before that restaurant was formed from a converted villa. Seems like the new Owner/Chef/Mgr of Nueva Kaskada has loud noise/music problems with the nearby villa residents. If he now has a PROPER LEGAL music license and ADHERES to it, he’d have no resident complaints to Marbella Town Hall, Police, Guardia. If not, it’s a Legal issue to be addressed by the Courts. And there are repercussions, not to the Complainents, but to the Town Hall & Local Police if they have not enforced their legal responsibility to protect residents’ peace & tranquility entitled to at home. Ex: Velez-Malaga Town Hall in 2010 (El Copo Case, Torre del Mar) was Ordered to pay 5.26 MILLION Euros to residents who often complained about excessive noise from nearby restaurants and Town Hall did not stop it. Some 2.1 MILLION Euros have been paid to date. A Precedent !!
    I question how a resident complaining about Breach of The Peace under Law can be found “Guilty of Harassment”, and how it’s reported the new Owner/Mgr claims: “Renewed each year, the license states that the restaurant is allowed music from 1pm until midnight, seven days a week, and live music twice a week. But Fichthaler insists he doesn’t take advantage of the license and that the restaurant only has live shows twice a week, unless there is an event such as a wedding.” A “Flexible License” ??
    Someone/thing with lots of $$ will pay big.

  4. It would appear that the residents around Nueva Kaskada have every reason to be troubled by the noise levels, loud music and parking problems that impact on their lives.
    Carol Hewitt has all the facts and figures, so surely the restrictions regarding capacity, access and noise pollution, especially late at night, should be in place and adhered to – “someone,” is obviously flouting the rules.

  5. After owning our villa for 35 years it has become impossible to spend any quality time here since loud music started over two years ago. The entire service area is 4-1/2 metres from our house and we have to endure clattering plates, noisy machines, and staff shouting from early morning until after closing, as well as nauseating odours of fried fish and smoke which fill our home even with all windows closed. Also, there is an open bar under our bedroom window, licensed until 2:00 a.m. which is also very noisy and our home very often smells like a brewery. Never in the past 13 years have we been notified that a three-bedroom villa 4-1/2 metres from our house was going to be allowed to become a restaurant with LIVE MUSIC and open terraces with 250 seats. Parking problem already explained. Fichthaler’s claim of a guilty verdict in the “harrassment” suit is premature and slanderous and will be dealt with appropriately.

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