The leader of a campaign to keep the manager of a much-loved tea hut in his job is “extremely positive” about the acceptance of a petition by the City of London Corporation.

Paul Morris started the petition - now signed by more than 8,000 people - to stop the lease of the tea hut in Hill Wood, High Beech going out to tender.

The business has been run by the same family for 84 years, but the City of London Corporation has decided to put the lease out to tender when it expires in December.

The Corporation has cited a need to increase revenue from the site amid a budget cut of 12.5 per cent as the reason for the move.

This morning the petition was handed to the City of London Corporation’s director of open spaces, Sue Ireland, at the Guildhall in the City of London.

Mr Morris said: “I’m extremely positive about the Corporation’s acknowledgment of our petition and the fact it will be considered in the appropriate manner.

“I don’t class this as a victory but more the first stage of a process in which the Corporation have the next decision to make.

“It’s certainly not the end but now the process is under way we should take the opportunity to sit back and let it take its course.”

Ralph Ankers, of Mott Street, High Beach, and who a regular user of the tea hut, joined Mr Morris at the Guildhall this morning.

He said: “I’m very pleased they accepted the petition.

“It shows an acceptance of what people want on a local level.”

Mr Morris added: “It indicates the problems the Corporation has with public consultation that it has come to this.

“I would like to see a regular meeting with user groups and the superintendent and more democratic representation of the people who live near and use the forest.”

Mr Morris again urged people not to demonstrate about the issue during the upcoming Tour de France stage when it passes through the district on July 7.

The tea hut in Hill Wood will be providing tea and scones throughout the day.

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