'I have got to have an income': Ex-Upminster farmer considers career change after eviction from land

Ray Chapman, formerly of Upminster's Lodge Farm in Park Farm Road

Ray Chapman said he is still unsure what to do next after being evicted from his Upminster farm, though he knows he has to find an income - Credit: Ben Lynch

A former Upminster farmer is having to consider a new career path since he was evicted from the land his family worked for over a century.

Ray Chapman’s family had run Lodge Farm in Park Farm Road since around 1910 until they were recently evicted by Essex County Council

Following an auction held to sell the remainder of the farm's equipment, Ray moved in with his daughter Nicole and his mother went to Ray’s nephew’s home in West Horndon. 

Having lived with Nicole, her boyfriend James and young daughter Amelia for about a week, Ray said he was feeling “as well as I can be".  

“It is what it is,” he said. 

Ray's uncle George, one of two uncles, ran the farm alongside Ray's dad, Leonard. Here is George riding a tractor

Ray's uncle George, one of two uncles, ran the farm alongside Ray's dad, Leonard. Here is George riding a tractor, from Ray's stash of photos taken of his family through the years - Credit: Ray Chapman

The only thing still left on the farm is his cat, which Ray said refused to accompany him when he left. 

Ray still feeds the feline, he added, heading down to the farm most days to leave the cat some food. 

While happy with his daughter, Ray said he is currently considering what his next steps will be. 

“I am still not sure,” he said. “I am thinking about doing up a house and renting it out. 

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“I have got to have an income.”

At the time of the eviction, Essex County Council said it was "sympathetic" to the Chapman family's concerns and its dispute resolution team was working to "reach an amicable resolution".