Gardener Who Spent £5,000 Creating Urban Oasis Is Ordered To Destroy It

Andy Wells

Jobsworth officials have told a man who spent his entire life savings on creating an urban oasis outside a block of flats that he has to rip it all down.

Jam Imani Rad forked out over £5,000 on the community garden project so that his neighbours could enjoy some greenery outside their homes.

But after installing statues, trellises and stone structures outside the flats in Preston, Lancs, the 65-year-old was told by the housing association that it would all have to go because he didn't win permission for it.

Retired teacher Jam is gutted about the decision, and said the money he spent was meant to pay for his funeral.

He said: '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 admits he went further than he was given permission for but he denies that his project has  caused a nuisance.

He added: '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 Community Gateway ask me to stop.

'Why have they waited until I've finished to ask me to destroy it?'

Gateway 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 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.

Green-fingered Jam Imani Rad. (SWNS)
Jam in his garden. (SWNS)
Jam Imani Rad in his lovingly-created garden. (SWNS)
After: How the garden looked thanks to Jam's work. (SWNS)
Bare: How the garden looked before Jam made the effort. (SWNS)