CHATSWORTH: Family forced out of their beloved farm

Edward and Elizabeth Hill with daughter Alicia grandaughters Harriet Josephine and Philippa and their mother Georgina
Edward and Elizabeth Hill with daughter Alicia grandaughters Harriet Josephine and Philippa and their mother Georgina

A couple are being turfed out of their beloved family farm by Chatsworth Estate - after illness forced them to be one day late with their rent.

Edward Hill, 63, has lived at Gamelea Farm in Eastmoor his whole life and the farm has been in his family for 180 years but tomorrow he and his wife Elizabeth, 61, along with their children and grandchildren are being evicted from their home.

Edward and Elizabeth Hill at the farm theyn are being evicted from

Edward and Elizabeth Hill at the farm theyn are being evicted from

Mr Hill has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and says his condition makes him forgetful - but the day after a standing order for the rent bounced he was handed an eviction notice.

Mrs Hill said: “He has never defaulted on the rent before in his life but has become forgetful.

“They could have spoken to me but instead of picking up the phone to see there was a problem they came up on the day after the rent was due with an eviction notice.”

The family has been forced to get rid of their livestock, equipment and pet dogs as well as search for a new home.

Elizabeth also runs a charity from the farm - Gamelea Countryside Training Trust which helps disabled people - and faces laying off four members of staff while the trust finds a new base.

She added: “It’s been absolutely horrendous. It’s not just like moving house, we have farmed the land and put down roots.

“When I met my husband he said they’d carry him out of here in a box. The land is in his blood.

“He is absolutely devastated and this has exacerbated his condition. It’s just awful for the whole family.”

The couple have found a new home to rent in Tapton but their son, his wife and three children are now homeless.

Elizabeth added: “They are on the council housing list but nothing has come up. They are going to see the homeless officer tomorrow.”

What Chatsworth say:

A spokesman for Chatsworth Estate said: “Chatsworth worked very closely with the Hill family, the Tenant Farmers Association and the Arthur Rank Centre to create an exit strategy that is agreeable to all parties.

“It is a very complicated and difficult situation and due to the circumstances we cannot discuss any details for legal reasons.”

The DT asked for more details of how they had worked with the family but Chatsworth said ‘it did not want to get in to a he said, she said conversation.’