ST Ann’s Well cafe tenant, John Redman, handed in a petition boasting 2,500 names when he attended a board meeting of the Malvern Hills Conservators on Thursday, May 13.

Mr Redman, who has occupied the hillside, vegetarian cafe for 20 years, was informed by the Conservators in October he must vacate the building when his lease was up.

The organisation plans to redevelop the site to include a visitor information centre above the cafe.

Supporters of Mr Redman’s attempt to remain at the cafe were out in force and the evening was characterised by hostile interruptions, adjournments and a walk-out by a member of the public.

Chairman Ray Roberts opened by informing those present that, although he did not personally object to it, the recording or filming of the meeting was prohibited under the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960.

The meeting was subsequently adjourned twice when a member of the public initially refused to cease recording the proceedings, before finally leaving after loudly and repeatedly enquiring whether there were “any Freemasons in the room”.

During public questions, the minutes of the March 11 board meeting were disputed for not including a proposal by board member Brian Pilcher to end the public question segment at the allotted 30-minute point. This proposal had been voted on and failed. The item was added to the minutes of Thursday’s meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Redman said the paper petition was backed-up with an online petition of 2,000 names and a Facebook group with more than 6,500 members.