Green-fingered enthusiast who has spent life savings turning an urban wasteland into a city oasis has been told to destroy it because he didn’t get permission
A green-fingered enthusiast who has spent his life savings turning an urban wasteland into a city oasis has been told to destroy it by housing officials.
Public-spirited Jam Imani Rad, 65, forked out over £5,000 installing statues, trellises and stone structures into the community garden for neighbours to enjoy.
But he has been told to return it to its previous derelict state after failing to win permission from the housing association.
Jam, a retired teacher, said: “I paid for this out of money I’ve saved for my funeral.
“I wanted to create a thing of beauty and show that pensioners can make a positive contribution and don’t need to sit there watching TV all day.
“All my neighbours love it and have even signed a petition to keep it.”
Jam worked with a professional gardener to turn the land owned by Community Gateway Association in Preston, Lancs., into a green outdoor haven.
Although he admits he’s gone further than he was given permission for, Jam denies he’s causing a nuisance.
He claims the only time he asked people not to walk in the garden was for 10 days when he spread new grass seed.
After that he erected a sign saying, “please walk in and talk to the flowers.”
He added: “I’ve asked for nothing from Community Gateway. Everyone who comes past loves it.”
Jam said he was given permission to put “a few plants” outside his front door but has done a lot more since the New Year.
Jam said: “I hold my hand up, I’ve gone further than I was allowed to.
“But the material was outside my house for six months and not once during that time did anyone from Gateway ask me to stop.
“Why have they waited until I’ve finished to ask me to destroy it?”
Bosses said Jam was first spoken to when he carried out work in 2012 and claim in the last six months he has gone back on an agreement not to do anything further.
A spokesman for Community Gateway Association said: “We have been working closely with the customer for a number of years to resolve issues surrounding the development of the communal gardens.
“In 2012 customers raised concerns about the work that Mr Rad had carried out to the communal gardens.
“CGA had not granted permission for this work to be carried out and so following discussions with Mr Rad, it was agreed that we would leave the work he had completed at that time in situ on the condition that no further work was to be carried out.
“Mr Rad subsequently signed an agreement that confirmed that he would not make any further alterations without first asking for written permission directly from CGA to do so, and that he understood that CGA would consider any request, and if reasonable would allow it, and if not would explain why.
“Recently more work has been carried out (without CGA’s permission), statues and other structures have appeared in the garden, and Mr Rad had attempted to restrict access to parts of the garden to other CGA tenants for a period of time.
“The communal gardens are for the use of the whole community and not only for Mr Rad, so this has resulted, once again, in CGA receiving several complaints from residents about this work.”