A tea hut owner has described the support from his customers as “phenomenal”.

More than 8,000 people signed a petition against putting the lease of the Hill Wood tea hut in Epping Forest, High Beech, up for tender.

The petition was presented to the City of London Corporation, which owns the lease, on Friday and will be put before a committee on Monday.

Tea hut owner Bradley Melton, 33, said: “The reaction has been absolutely fantastic.
“I would never have expected it.

“The support of people around here has been phenomenal.

“I’m absolutely astounded by it.”

If unsuccessful in his application to win the tender Mr Melton, whose family have run the hut for 84 years, will lose the business after his current lease expires in December.

Read more about the campaign and the possibility of Mr Melton trading from a mobile pitch in this week's Epping Forest Guardian - out tomorrow.