Evicted Upminster farming family prepare to leave land as last of machinery sold

Fifth-generation farmer Ray Chapman has lived on the farm for his whole life.

Ray Chapman said it will not be until he sees the equipment going out of the gate that the eviction will fully sink in - Credit: Daniel Gayne

An Upminster farmer is having to move in with his daughter as his family is evicted from the land they worked for over a century. 

Despite having run Lodge Farm in Park Farm Road since around 1910, the Chapman family were served notice to leave by Essex County Council in September 2020 because the authority wanted to sell the site.  

The Chapmans had previously found a mortgage advisor and tried to buy the farm for £1.8m, but were told it was not enough. 

Essex County Council said it was “sympathetic” with the family’s concerns and the impact it “has had for the Chapman family”. 

It added: “It was over a year ago that notice was served on the farm, a much longer time than was required by the lease, and the dispute resolution team have regularly spoken with this family to achieve an amicable outcome.” 

Ray Chapman, a fifth-generation farmer who currently runs the site alongside his cousin Christopher, said they will be off “within a couple of weeks” after selling the last of their machinery. 

He previously stated he did not plan to resist the sale, but needed time to get rid of his farm equipment. 

He has now told the Recorder that everything has been sold via an online auction to a range of buyers both from within the farming community and otherwise, with everything to be picked up on March 15.   

Most Read

As most of the equipment was sold at wholesale prices, Ray said he did not get as much as he had hoped for the lot, which included the likes of potato harvesters and tractor hoes. 

Once that is out the way, he confirmed the family will be off the land "within a couple of weeks". 

Ray said he will be moving in with his daughter in Hornchurch for the foreseeable future, and his elderly mother will be going with his nephew. 

While he is feeling okay “at the moment”, Ray said it will not be until he sees the equipment going out of the gate that everything fully sinks in.  

“That’s when it’s going to hit hard," he said.

Pumpkin farmer Ray Chapman in his field in Upminster

Pumpkin farmer Ray Chapman in his field in Upminster - Credit: Archant