THE long-awaited inquiry into the dispute between St Ann’s Well cafe tenant John Redman and Malvern Hills Conservators is set to begin this morning.

The special inquiry committee set up to investigate the matter will be meeting at the Conservators’ offices in Manor House, Grange Road, at 10am.

The dispute began in September 2009 when Mr Redman was informed that his lease on the cafe would not be renewed when it expired in March 2010.

Protests, petitions, mediation sessions and negotiations followed and it was not until May this year that a new lease was finally agreed between the two parties.

When the Conservators’ new board held their first meeting earlier this month, it was decided that chairman Brian Pilcher should be responsible for organising and chairing the inquiry committee.

Mr Pilcher said he had taken note of previous chairman Clive Smith’s desire for the inquiry to be “open and transparent”, and so has appointed committee members who were not involved when the original decision not to renew Mr Redman’s lease was taken.

They are Carl Attwood, Luna Deller and Jill Campbell, with Mr Attwood being charged with authoring the committee’s report.

The inquiry committee is set to agree its terms of reference and timetable at this morning’s meeting.

A special meeting of the Conservators board was held yesterday evening (Thursday) to allow Mr Pilcher to brief members on the inquiry process.