A Preston pensioner who has spent his life savings on his garden may now have to destroy it.
Jam Imani Rad, of Harrington Road, has spent over £5,000 creating an urban oasis outside his block of flats, allowing neighbours to admire and contribute to the community project, metres away from UCLan.
The 65-year-old said he wanted to show “pensioners can make a positive contribution” instead of “watching TV all day” but was told by the housing association to destroy the oasis because he did not have permission.
He says that he has now been ‘ordered’ to demolish the garden by The Community Gateway Association.
Jam said that he was upset with the decision and said the money spent on the project was designed to pay for his funeral.
The Community Gateway Association posted a statement on their website regarding the issue. They said that they have not “ordered” Mr Rad to destroy the garden. They said that they have concerns over some electrical and structural risks that some of the alterations pose, however they have not in any conversation, demanded that the entire garden be “destroyed”. They have said that they have been in ongoing discussions with Mr Rad to find a suitable compromise for all parties.
Lily O’Sullivan, a second year Music Theatre student, said: “I lived at Whitendale Halls in my first year and I always admired the garden. I thought it made a change from seeing brick walls while walking to university.”
An online petition set up by Pete Moyes has dozen signatures so far, with several pledges from people in countries spanning as far as Austria, Spain and Chile.
One pledge from a UCLan student states: “This man’s garden cheered me up every day when I walked past it to go to lectures. He is just trying to bring a bit of brightness to his and his neighbours’ lives. We could all do with a little more green, what harm could it possibly be doing?”
Retired teacher Jam confesses he went further than he was given permission but denies that his project has caused a problem for the community.
“All my neighbours love it and have even signed a petition to keep it.”