It’s a green oasis in a concrete jungle, but Jam Imani Rad’s community garden has become a sore point for his landlord.
Mr Rad, a retired teacher and reporter, paid a professional gardener to overhaul the land outside his Community Gateway Association-owned home in Harrington Road, Preston
He said he wanted to create a thing of beauty and also show that “pensioners can make a positive contribution and don’t need to sit there, watch TV all day.”
But after failing to gain permission from the housing association, he has been told to remove some items – including statues, trellises and stone structures – within 28 days. Bosses said Mr Rad was first spoken to when he first carried work in 2012 and in the last six months he has gone back on an agreement not to do anything further.
They also claim neighbours have complained and Mr Rad has prevented people accessing the site.
But although the 65-year-old admits he has gone further than given permission for, he denies he is causing a nuisance.
I paid for this out of money I’ve saved for my funeral
He said: “I paid for this out of money I’ve saved for my funeral.
“I have asked for nothing from Community Gateway, but I wanted to do it to show other pensioners they can make a positive contribution and they don’t need to sit there, watch TV all day and get depressed.
“All my neighbours love it and have even signed a petition to keep it. Everyone who comes past also loves it.”
He said the only time he asked people not to walk in the garden was for 10 days when he spread new grass seed, and after that time erected a sign stating: ‘Please walk in and talk to the flowers’. Mr Rad claims he was given permission to put “a few plants” outside his door, but has done a lot of work since the New Year.
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 Gateway ask me to stop.
“Why have they waited till I’ve finished to ask me to destroy it?”
A spokesman for Community Gateway Association said: “Community Gateway Association has 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.”