A popular tea hut is to remain in family hands after a community campaign backed by the Guardian.

The City of London Corporation has announced that the Hill Wood hut, which was put out to tender in June, would continue to be run by Bradley Melton, whose family has run the business for 84 years.

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

A petition started by tea-hut regular Paul Morris calling for the hut to remain under its current ownership attracted 9,000 signatures and received backing from Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing.

Now the corporation has confirmed Mr Melton has won the tender and has been tasked with developing the business.

Mr Melton said: “I am completely over the moon - there is no other way to describe it.

“Now is the time to sit down and decide what to do to move forward.

“We will be meeting with the City of London Superintendent this week to discuss future designs for the hut.

“I am so glad that it is staying in the family. Thank you everyone.”

Mr Morris said: “We are ecstatic. It has been a long battle.

“Everyone at the tea hut is just so happy. It is about time that the City of London made the right decision.

“We are so grateful to everybody for their help and support over the past seven months.”