> MALVERN Hills Conservators have unveiled new plans to develop facilities at St Ann's Well - but have told the present tenant to leave.

John Redman, who has been running the popular cafe on the hills for nearly 20 years, learned on Saturday that his lease will not be renewed when it ends in six months.

The Conservators will be taking St Ann’s Well back under their own management from March 2010, said director Ian Rowat.

The plan is to restore the interior and open the room above the cafe as a visitor information centre. The cafe will open seven days a week through the summer and at weekends during the rest of the year.

Mr Redman said: "I'm not very happy about this. It will leave me with nowhere to live and no job, but I'm not altogether surprised. I thought that something like this might be coming.

"I don't know how they think they can make it work because it's not easy. There were some days in July and August when we didn't have a single customer."

He said as well as being his home and business, St Ann's Well provides a meeting venue for various groups, including the Vegan Society.

But Mr Rowat said the change will enable the Conservators to offer much better facilities.

"For a long time, we have wanted to provide a centre where visitors and residents can find out more about this unique and beautiful landscape. The 1995 Malvern Hills Act prevents us from rebuilding the popular cafe at the Beacon and providing a visitor facility there; St Ann’s Well gives us the opportunity to realise our aim closer to the town.

"With its position half way up the hillside, St Ann’s Well is the logical link between Great Malvern and the Malvern Hills and our proposals include various initiatives to encourage visitors to the hills down into the town centre."

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