Former farmer 'keeping everything crossed' as deadline announced for bids to buy Upminster land

Pumpkin farmer Ray Chapman in his field in Upminster

Ray Chapman, who most recently ran and lived on the farm, is hoping he can buy the land from the council - Credit: Archant

A former Upminster farmer is gearing up to bid for the land his family has worked for over a century, with a deadline confirmed by Essex County Council. 

The council has been looking for a new owner for Lodge Farm since evicting the Chapman family, who had worked and lived on the land since 1910, earlier this year. 

However, the search has been unsuccessful so far, with one buyer pulling out last month due to potential issues with water extraction

Ray Chapman, who most recently ran the farm, has decided to throw his hat into the ring. 

Bids are to be submitted by 12pm on June 24, after which Ray said he expects to hear back quickly, based on his previous experience trying to purchase the land. 

Asked what factors will be considered when deciding on a buyer, a council spokesperson said all offers will be given “due consideration”. 

Ray said while he will not be “holding my breath”, he is “keeping everything crossed”. 

“I know the ground, I have been there all my life, and I know what’s happening,” he said.