The organiser of a campaign to stop a forest tea hut being taken out of the hands of the family which has run it for more than 80 years has said he will take the fight to the Lord Mayor of London.

Paul Morris set up the petition on Friday after the City of London Corporation said it would put the lease for the business in Wood Hill, High Beech, out to tender.

The business has been run by the same family for 84 years and the corporation has not explained the timing of the move.

Mr Morris has so far gathered 5,000 signatures and has vowed to submit it to the Lord Mayor Alderman Fiona Woolf, who is the ceremonial figurehead of the City of London, when the total reaches 10,000.

Mr Morris, 42, who regularly visits the hut with fellow bikers, said: “I’ve been coming here since I was 15 and it’s a quintessential part of the forest.

“It’s popular because it’s different to all the big high street coffee shops and you get a all sorts of people meeting there.”

The City of London Corporation said the tender process has been launched due to budget reductions of 12.5 per cent in Epping Forest and the need to ensure value for money on its licensed outlets.

Epping MP Eleanor Laing has said she will discuss the issue with officials. 

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."

The petition can be found here.