A PENSIONER has been left heartbroken after discovering a housing association plans to lay turf over his garden patch, which he has been planting crops in for 20 years.

John Hughes, who says gardening is his pride and joy, was upset to discover Fortis Living is set to turf over his patch of garden, as part of an environmental improvement works project.

The 76-year-old said: “Gardening is a big part of my life. My garden will soon be gone after 20 years of looking after it.”

Mr Hughes, who worked as a groundsman for Worcester City Council for 30 years, claims the issue is affecting his mental health. “I’m upset and all this has made me depressed. It is only a little patch and it keeps me happy and mentally well. But they want to take that away from me.

“Worrying about the garden is making me ill.

“It is heartbreaking.”

Mr Hughes says he has been growing a variety of crops at his home in Sheepscombe Drive, Warndon, for 20 years.

Meanwhile, a fellow resident, who asked not to be named, said she has also put a lot of effort into her own garden since she moved in four years ago.

“Our gardens all have a meaning. Why should all of our hard work and efforts be taken away like that? My garden means a lot to me and I don’t want to lose it. It is such a shame. It is the first thing I enjoy seeing when I wake up. It inspires me to do more,” she said.

Mr Hughes said he has sent a petition to the housing association protesting the plans, which about 40 people signed. The project is set to begin at Mr Hughes’ house and surrounding properties next month.

Steve Vizard, assistant asset management director from Fortis Living said: "We are always delighted when customers take pride in their neighbourhoods, but we always have to be aware that communal areas are for all who live there and not just for a few.

“The work is part of a £200,000 programme of local works which will involve the removal of large areas of hardstanding, laying turf and improving accessibility.

"Our aim is to ensure that everyone living in Sheepscombe Drive will benefit from the improvement works and we hope they will continue to take pride in their new and much- improved communal areas."


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