Popular tea hut in Epping Forest has been run by the same family for 80 years

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Bradley Melton, who runs the business in Hill Wood, High Beech, has been told by the City of London Corporation that the lease will be put up for offer when it expires in December. Buy this photo Bradley Melton, who runs the business in Hill Wood, High Beech, has been told by the City of London Corporation that the lease will be put up for offer when it expires in December.

A man whose family has run the same tea hut for more than 80 years has spoken of his shock after it was offered out to tender.

Bradley Melton, who runs the business in Hill Wood, High Beech, has been told by the City of London Corporation that the lease will be put up for offer when it expires in December.

The 33-year-old is the fourth generation of his family to run the hut, which is popular with bikers, walkers and horse riders.

He said: “I am in a state of shock. My family have run this tea hut for 84 years and it has never been put up for tender before.

“I don’t understand why they have made the decision to do this now. They told me the days of 80p tea are gone.”

The City of London Corporation said due to budget reductions of 12.5 per cent in Epping Forest, it needs to ensure “value for money” on its licensed outlets.

A spokesperson said: “The trustees have decided to ensure that they are achieving the best possible level of service and return for this facility through public advertisement.

“Tea huts are an Epping Forest tradition and we want that to continue, while meeting the service expectations of all our visitors.”

Mr Melton will have the opportunity to bid for the hut, which opened in 1930.

However, he doesn’t feel confident about his chances.

He said: “I am dyslexic so I struggle with paperwork. Also, if a big chain comes in to bid on the pitch, I will not be able to compete with them.”

Ralph Ankers, 57, has been a regular at the hut for 30 years.

He said: “Bradley has been very good to his customers. During the recession he never once put his prices up even though his rent trebled.”

The tea hut set up a Facebook page to raise awareness of the issue and has gained nearly 6,000 likes in less than a week.

An online petition has also been set up that has reached 1,000 signatures.

Watch a video of Bradley Melton speaking to the Guardian here: 

Comments (13)

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1:45pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Paul Skinner says...

For people who think this is an outrageous misuse of power by City of London Corp the Facebook page for Save the Tea Hut is here: https://www.facebook
.com/pages/Save-the-
Tea-hut/646435558773
761

The online petition is here: https://www.change.o
rg/en-GB/petitions/s
uperintendent-of-epp
ing-forest-and-the-c
ity-of-london-leave-
the-bikers-tea-hut-i
n-high-beech-alone-d
o-not-put-it-out-to-
tender-and-recognise
-this-place-as-a-par
t-of-local-history-a
nd-to-start-listenin
g-to-the-people-that
-use-the-forest
For people who think this is an outrageous misuse of power by City of London Corp the Facebook page for Save the Tea Hut is here: https://www.facebook .com/pages/Save-the- Tea-hut/646435558773 761 The online petition is here: https://www.change.o rg/en-GB/petitions/s uperintendent-of-epp ing-forest-and-the-c ity-of-london-leave- the-bikers-tea-hut-i n-high-beech-alone-d o-not-put-it-out-to- tender-and-recognise -this-place-as-a-par t-of-local-history-a nd-to-start-listenin g-to-the-people-that -use-the-forest Paul Skinner
  • Score: 28

2:38pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Paul Skinner says...

The very fact that City of London refused to publish the report in to why the Superintendent believes the lease should be put up for tender tells a story...
The very fact that City of London refused to publish the report in to why the Superintendent believes the lease should be put up for tender tells a story... Paul Skinner
  • Score: 26

2:55pm Tue 17 Jun 14

cynicalsue says...

Paul Skinner wrote:
The very fact that City of London refused to publish the report in to why the Superintendent believes the lease should be put up for tender tells a story...
Have they been taking lessons from LBWF I wonder? Maybe the report was also placed in the asbestos-ridden basement?!
[quote][p][bold]Paul Skinner[/bold] wrote: The very fact that City of London refused to publish the report in to why the Superintendent believes the lease should be put up for tender tells a story...[/p][/quote]Have they been taking lessons from LBWF I wonder? Maybe the report was also placed in the asbestos-ridden basement?! cynicalsue
  • Score: 10

3:19pm Tue 17 Jun 14

LoisPallister says...

The petition now (15:18 17/06/14) is just 6 short of 2000 signatures and it was only set up this morning.

I just don't understand why the City of London Corporation are ignoring so many members of the public!

I just hope that if they are mad enough to continue to go ahead with this that all those considering putting in a bid will be aware that they will be starting with a customer base of zero!
The petition now (15:18 17/06/14) is just 6 short of 2000 signatures and it was only set up this morning. I just don't understand why the City of London Corporation are ignoring so many members of the public! I just hope that if they are mad enough to continue to go ahead with this that all those considering putting in a bid will be aware that they will be starting with a customer base of zero! LoisPallister
  • Score: 18

4:21pm Tue 17 Jun 14

LouiseMoss says...

The tea hut is brilliant as it is!

A range of users are regular visitors to the tea hut - from walks, bikers, horse riders, cyclists and families.

If a posh cafe or better food was wanted by the people that used it we would go to either of the pubs just up the road, or a range of other eating estabilishments not too far away!

The tea hut is well used and loved - the fact that it has been in Bradley's family for over 80 years adds to the charm!

The City of London Corporation is planning to actively alienate and discourage the existing loyal customers of the tea hut.
If they want to think about "value for money" then surely Bradley fabulous food and drink at a reasonable price with a brilliant atmosphere is it.
We are the consumers after all so what we want should be considered and what we want is the tea hut as it is.
The tea hut is brilliant as it is! A range of users are regular visitors to the tea hut - from walks, bikers, horse riders, cyclists and families. If a posh cafe or better food was wanted by the people that used it we would go to either of the pubs just up the road, or a range of other eating estabilishments not too far away! The tea hut is well used and loved - the fact that it has been in Bradley's family for over 80 years adds to the charm! The City of London Corporation is planning to actively alienate and discourage the existing loyal customers of the tea hut. If they want to think about "value for money" then surely Bradley fabulous food and drink at a reasonable price with a brilliant atmosphere is it. We are the consumers after all so what we want should be considered and what we want is the tea hut as it is. LouiseMoss
  • Score: 19

5:51pm Tue 17 Jun 14

stickmanny says...

If this guy is offering a decent service leave him to it.

Got to be better than the Kings Oak and tea place next door, which are a disgrace to humanity.
If this guy is offering a decent service leave him to it. Got to be better than the Kings Oak and tea place next door, which are a disgrace to humanity. stickmanny
  • Score: 13

6:33pm Tue 17 Jun 14

pan says...

Facebook page link as I noticed the above link doesn't seem to work https://www.facebook
.com/pages/Save-the-
Tea-hut/646435558773
761
Facebook page link as I noticed the above link doesn't seem to work https://www.facebook .com/pages/Save-the- Tea-hut/646435558773 761 pan
  • Score: 3

7:36pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Geckoman says...

I have used that hut for a long time...every time I come back to England, I visit there at least once...all of my children have been there on foot or in car or on motorbike....Bradley has always been a good steward of the site and serves a mean cuppa and bacon roll :)

Screw the barstewards who are just out to make money out of anything they can :(
I have used that hut for a long time...every time I come back to England, I visit there at least once...all of my children have been there on foot or in car or on motorbike....Bradley has always been a good steward of the site and serves a mean cuppa and bacon roll :) Screw the barstewards who are just out to make money out of anything they can :( Geckoman
  • Score: 19

8:19pm Tue 17 Jun 14

jackblack007 says...

stickmanny wrote:
If this guy is offering a decent service leave him to it.

Got to be better than the Kings Oak and tea place next door, which are a disgrace to humanity.
well the kings oak, only wants orange perma tanned *ankers in there
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: If this guy is offering a decent service leave him to it. Got to be better than the Kings Oak and tea place next door, which are a disgrace to humanity.[/p][/quote]well the kings oak, only wants orange perma tanned *ankers in there jackblack007
  • Score: 11

10:13pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Biggleswadebob says...

I laugh at the comments about the queue as i remember queuing outside a woodford italian restaurant everytime i went there and nobody complained!
This establishment is perfect as it is otherwise there would not be the volume of support shown.
Small family businesses like this need some protection from the big chains sweeping in with backhanded promises and feeding the greedy councils and corporations set on turning every town into a clone of the next one.
40p a cup of tea wont pay the rent let alone the wages for exploited eastern europeans working there and if i were the forest would worry at such comments which echo a slight racism to people from other countries. Insighting that only eastern europeans work hard! Strange attitude!
Lets not forget the local history here also, how many family run establishments have stayed trading for over 80 years! Something that local council and forest should be proud of!
No this whole issue has a bad smell in my view and i think i know which way its heading, but for once why not listen to the masses of support the publis has given to keep things as they are? Does this not mean anything?
I laugh at the comments about the queue as i remember queuing outside a woodford italian restaurant everytime i went there and nobody complained! This establishment is perfect as it is otherwise there would not be the volume of support shown. Small family businesses like this need some protection from the big chains sweeping in with backhanded promises and feeding the greedy councils and corporations set on turning every town into a clone of the next one. 40p a cup of tea wont pay the rent let alone the wages for exploited eastern europeans working there and if i were the forest would worry at such comments which echo a slight racism to people from other countries. Insighting that only eastern europeans work hard! Strange attitude! Lets not forget the local history here also, how many family run establishments have stayed trading for over 80 years! Something that local council and forest should be proud of! No this whole issue has a bad smell in my view and i think i know which way its heading, but for once why not listen to the masses of support the publis has given to keep things as they are? Does this not mean anything? Biggleswadebob
  • Score: 17

10:23pm Tue 17 Jun 14

Biggleswadebob says...

Well well well the other post has gone! Strange that!
Well well well the other post has gone! Strange that! Biggleswadebob
  • Score: -1

11:47am Wed 18 Jun 14

G_Whiz says...

Tea, British tradition, small businesses with long family tradition - Of Course the City of London Authority want to attack it.

Our Authorities won't be happy until all we have had has gone!

Manners have gone, getto-separatist culture is growing - jeeze it's gonna get messy!

Blimey, such a rant over a tea shop....sorry!
Tea, British tradition, small businesses with long family tradition - Of Course the City of London Authority want to attack it. Our Authorities won't be happy until all we have had has gone! Manners have gone, getto-separatist culture is growing - jeeze it's gonna get messy! Blimey, such a rant over a tea shop....sorry! G_Whiz
  • Score: 4

9:43am Fri 20 Jun 14

GavinQ says...

heh - 'Ghetto separatist culture'...like it :)
heh - 'Ghetto separatist culture'...like it :) GavinQ
  • Score: 3
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