Women’s tent protest ends with keys to home

Marilyn Robinson-White & daughter Sarah Robinson, living in the tent.

Marilyn Robinson-White & daughter Sarah Robinson, living in the tent.

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A mother and daughter who have been living in a tent for five months have finally got the keys to their house back.

Marilyn Robinson-White and Sarah White set up camp on land behind their home in Kempston after being evicted over a council tax bill dispute.

The tent encampment this week.

The tent encampment this week.

The pair were locked out of their property in January after being forced into bankruptcy by Bedford Borough Council, as legal costs spiralled in the dispute over the £5,492 bill.

At the time, the shocked 63-year-old said she believed she was exempt from paying council tax when she became her husband’s full-time carer in 2006 after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Her husband died in 2011.

But determined to “get justice” Mrs Robinson-White and Sarah, 41, stayed put throughout the coldest and wettest months, made possible by the unfailing support of neighbours.

A borough council spokeswoman said:“The trustee appointed to administer Mrs Robinson-White’s bankruptcy has reached an agreement with her which allows for settlement of the bankruptcy, including payment of the council tax, without the need to sell the property.

“Mrs Robinson-White and her daughter are now able to move back into the house. The council wishes to acknowledge the assistance of all parties involved in achieving this positive resolution of the situation.”

Yesterday Mrs Robinson-White said the ordeal has left her in poor health and exhausted as she now faces the task of making her home habitable again.