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Forced onto the road

PUBLISHED: 13:26 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 10:36 12 August 2010

EVICTED: Theresa Baker holding 19-month old Lizzie with Jonnie, Simon and Tony behind.

EVICTED: Theresa Baker holding 19-month old Lizzie with Jonnie, Simon and Tony behind.

A SINGLE mother-of-five is being evicted from her home after a six year battle with the council.

A SINGLE mother-of-five is being evicted from her home after a six year battle with the council.

Although Theresa Baker owns the plot of land in Waldens Lane, St Mary Cray, she has been served an eviction notice as her caravan is on greenbelt land, and is therefore an "unauthorised development".

Ms Baker's family lost its final battle with Bromley council at Bromley County Court on March 1, when a judge gave them just six weeks to move off the site.

Ms Baker said: "There's nothing I can do. I was crying all last week and I've had to take tablets for my nerves."

The 38-year-old mother says that she's most worried about what will happen to her three eldest sons when they have to leave.

Simon Baker, 14, has recently been picked for the British boxing squad for the Youth Olympics and both he and his brother Johnny Baker won silver at the European Schoolboy Championships.

In the same week as the court's decision, 13-year-old Johnny featured on the back page of the Bromley Times after winning gold at a prestigious national boxing championship.

Although council officials have offered them a house, Ms Baker says that her children would never live in bricks and mortar.

She said: "My traveller heritage means I have never lived in a house, and I know that my older boys would refuse to live in a house. We have nowhere to go.

"There are no plots available in the existing sites, so my family would have to be split up. If I have to leave here the kids will be out of school and out of sport."

Over the past five years about eight traveller families have been evicted from unauthorised sites on and around Walden Farm.

Leader of Bromley council Stephen Carr said: "Bromley council does not accept the basis of argument being an aversion to bricks and mortar.

"They have been costing the tax payer while they fought their case. If there is a success here then it was for the London Borough of Bromley.

"The family knew this was coming."

Mr Carr vocally opposed proposals from the Mayor of London Boris Johnson in January to find 52 new sites for gypsy and traveller sites in Bromley, saying that the assessment has been "complete madness".

James Revell-Bellsham, from the NHS Gypsy Traveller Support Unit, said that the Baker family was well known and liked in St Mary Cray by both settled and traveller communities.

He added: "I just feel deflated. The waiting list for new plots is so long that Theresa will never get a chance.

"It doesn't make sense to split a family up. Some youngsters from the traveller community can go off the rails, but these boys have done well.

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