Thousands back bid to save Jam’s garden

Petition: Jam Imani Rad pictured on a swing in the garden he was trying to save from destruction.
Petition: Jam Imani Rad pictured on a swing in the garden he was trying to save from destruction.
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A retired teacher’s mission to save his prized garden from destruction has gained the backing of more than 4,000 people.

Jam Imani Rad spent the £5,000 he had squirrelled away to pay for his funeral on hiring a contractor to create a suburban oasis outside his home in Harrington Road, Preston.

They loved it and they helped me to create it. A petition was signed by everyone who lives in this block. The only person who complained about it was the woman who lives in the flat above me

But the 65-year-old has been ordered to remove statues, trellises and stone structures by landlord Community Gateway Association.

Now Carla Angino, from Plymouth, launched a petition urging the CGA to retract their decision and so far 3,459 people have pledged their support for Jam’s garden.

People from the Netherlands, Scotland and across England have signed the petition.

But this is not the first attempt to save the garden, Jam says his fellow residents also signed a petiton.

He said: “They loved it and they helped me to create it. A petition was signed by everyone who lives in this block. The only person who complained about it was the woman who lives in the flat above me.

“All I wish is for the CGA to leave me in peace and let me let me make a nice garden for the public to come and enjoy it.”

Robert Feeley, from Preston, is backing the campaign.

He wrote: “This is so beautiful and is doing no-one any harm. It is so much nicer and greener than what is ‘looked after’ by the local council.

“Shame on Gateway for ordering it’s destruction.”

But the CGA said they had warned Jam back in 2012 and that they were forced into action after complaints from residents.

A spokesman said: “CGA 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.

“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.”

Ryan Dixon from Hoghton, near Preston believes the garden should stay.

He wrote: “I love the look of this garden. It lifts my spirits whenever I walk or drive past.

“A lot of work, creativity and imagination has gone into it I hope it stays.”