THE long-standing tenant of St Ann’s Well Cafe on the Malvern Hills is preparing to fight for his “home and livelihood”.

As revealed by the Gazette, John Redman, who has been the cafe’s tenant for nearly two decades has been asked to leave the premises by Malvern Hills Conservators, who want to take the well back under their own management and develop a visitor information centre above the cafe.

However, although Mr Redman’s lease expired on Wednesday (March 31), he is refusing to leave the cafe and plans to keep on running the business as usual, starting this Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

“I are not going anywhere without a fight,” he said. “I have been here for 20 years. What am I going to do? Do they expect me to leave with nothing - no job and no home?”

Mr Redman said he had already spent considerable amounts of money on his campaign to stay at the cafe.

“I’ve spent more than £7,000 already just defending my home and my livelihood,” he said.

Mr Redman says he has received tremendous public support for his bid to stay at the well, with about 10,000 people backing his campaign. More than 6,000 have signed up to a facebook group and thousands more have signed online and hand-written petitions.

Ian Rowat, director of Malvern Hills Conservators, said: “The lease is up but Mr Redman has not vacated the premises. We are now taking legal advice on the best course to proceed.”

As well as refurbishing the cafe the Conservators would like to use the property to achieve a long-standing goal of providing a visitor information centre on the hills.

“There are things that we want to do at the well but we want to consult with the public first,” said Mr Rowat. “We cannot do that until we have resolved this situation. I would like to re-iterate there is absolutely no intention for us to close the cafe.”