Chatsworth defends eviction of farmer

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THE Chatsworth estate says eviction was a ‘last resort’ for an ousted farming family who had worked land near Baslow for almost two centuries.

Edward and Elizabeth Hill were evicted from 200-acre Game Lea Farm, near the hamlet of Wadshelf off the A619 between Chesterfield and Baslow, over a rent payment they say was only one day late.

Mr Hill, aged 63, has Parkinson’s Disease and blames the condition for his forgetting £2,000 in overdue rent.

The day after the final payment date, officials from the Duke of Devonshire’s estate visited the farm to serve Mr Hill and his wife, 61, with a notice to quit.

Edward had been born on Game Lea Farm, and spent his working life there – the seventh generation of his family to do so.

Today a spokesman for the Chatsworth estate said: “In all tenant relationships Chatsworth works very hard to reach a solution that enables the tenant to remain at the property.

“An eviction notice is served only as a last resort when all avenues have been exhausted and a tenant cannot meet the terms of their tenancy agreement.

“The land is now being farmed by neighbouring tenants who are slowly bringing it back into condition.”

Mr Hill, whose 17-year-old daughter Alicia used to play the harp in his farm’s tearoom, claimed: “They have not got a shred of humanity or sympathy in them. It has ripped my life apart.”