Shrewsbury gardener blooming fed up after being ordered to remove pots
A green-fingered Shrewsbury man has accused a housing firm of "bullying" after being ordered to remove his colourful blooms.
Andy Grant's plant pot displays are popular in New Park Road, in Castlefields, but Severnside Housing has told him to get rid of them due to them being a fire hazard.
The former hospitality worker credits gardening as an important part of maintaining his mental health, and says it's a shame as the flowers cheer up his neighbours.
"I love gardening which helps me stay more or less in control of depression which I try to live with," he said.
"I've had some mostly metal and terracotta pots out front for just over four years with no problems. Then suddenly, during the lockdown which I was told to shield, Severnside Housing has been corresponding with my private landlord about my garden.
"It seems my plants are in violation of the terms of the leasehold agreement between himself and Severnside,
"I understand this and agree I have no right to have pots there, however, the land in question is a 1ft deep strip that runs across the front of the building. The only thing Severnside do is spray weed killer once or twice a year.
"My pots are not over the pavement, they do not hinder the grass cutters but they do make a lot of people happy, they do brighten a very dull corner of a council/ex council estate. They do help me maintain my mental health. As I grow veg too, they help me maintain physical health.
"Severnside have not listened to me, they wouldn't talk to my local councillor."
"It's been so pathetic," he added. "Severnside is using bullying tactics to try and force me to remove part of my garden. Their officer will not talk to me as I'm 'just the tenant'. She won't listen to reason and definitely will not employ common sense.
"The only response is They're on our land, move them'.
"They claim to be 'a charitable registered organisation who work with and support the local community', but are anything but charitable, not working with or supporting our lovely Castlefields community."
Kerry Bolister, director of development at Housing Plus Group said: “Restrictions to what can be left, installed or planted in communal areas are necessary to ensure ease of access for grounds maintenance teams and the safety of residents and visitors.
“These restrictions apply to all Severnside Housing customers and all private tenants, such as Mr Hudson, who rent their home from the leaseholders of properties in developments owned by Severnside.
“In this case we’ve held talks with Mr Hudson’s landlord, reminding them of the terms of the leaseholder agreement and we understand they have raised the matter with their tenant and the various plants and garden furniture on Severnside Housing land have since been removed.
“Clearly it’s important that the terms of any legal agreement are enforced fairly and consistently.
“Furthermore, we’ve made no request for Mr Hudson to remove extensive flower displays located in areas where he has his landlord’s permission and the legal right to plant them.”