Topless protest over garden ‘destruction’

Photo Neil Cross'Jam Imani Rad, 65, has spend �5,200 landscaping a communal garden area at his Gateway flats in Harrington Street, Preston, only to be told to rip it all out
Photo Neil Cross'Jam Imani Rad, 65, has spend �5,200 landscaping a communal garden area at his Gateway flats in Harrington Street, Preston, only to be told to rip it all out
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Dozens of people are set to take part in a topless protest in a bid to keep an under-threat garden intact.

Jam Imani Rad hit the headlines after claims bosses at Community Gateway Association asked him to take apart a garden he spent £5,200 creating outside his flat in Harrington Street, Preston.

Although he didn’t have permission, CGA is allowing him to keep the garden, apart from four items which it says pose electrical and structural risks. But Mr Rad claims he was told by CGA a statue of a naked woman must be removed because it is “offensive and indecent.”

Now friends want to strip off to create a human chain around it. CGA said claims that the statues are offensive have come from Mr Rad’s neighbours.

Mr Rad said he was thankful for the protest offer, but had worries about the affect it could have on the nearby Salvation Army Church.

He said: “My fear is that many people will turn up and the small garden does not have enough place to accommodate them so they go to next available space which is right in front of the church entrance topless. I am not a believer but I do have a lot of respect for peaceful practice of any belief.”

Mr Rad also claims he has been denied a copy of CGA’s gardening policy and has been told an official complaint made against the decision will not be dealt with.

CGA declined to comment on specific complaints, instead they referred to a statement which states: “We recognise that Mr Rad has carried out a lot of work to the communal garden, and we are always keen that tenants take pride in their homes and communities.

“Whilst we have asked Mr Rad to remove just four items from the garden, as we have concerns over the electrical and structural risks that these pose, we would like to be clear that we have not in any conversation, demanded that the entire garden be destroyed, nor will we.”

It continued: ”We are happy for the planting, borders and pathways to remain in place, but for the safety of Mr Rad and his neighbours, we are not able to allow those four items to stay. For the avoidance of doubt, and despite what we believe to be inaccurate and misleading reports, CGA has never asked that Mr Rad flatten, demolish or level the entire garden, and we are committed, as we always have been, to continuing conversations with Mr Rad and his neighbours.”