'I'd be utterly lost without it' - Family told to dig up vegetable patch

Charles Albert who started growing vegetables as a form of therapy has been told to dig them up or f

Charles Albert who started growing vegetables as a form of therapy has been told to dig them up or potentially face eviction. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

A family who set up a vegetable patch in a communal area of a council development could face eviction if they refuse to give up the project.

Charles Albert began planting vegetables on a plot of land by the Lakenham council home he rents before the coronavirus pandemic as a way of managing his mental health.

Charles Albert who started growing vegetables as a form of therapy has been told to dig them up or f

Charles Albert who started growing vegetables as a form of therapy in a communal area. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

However, he has now been told that he must dig up the patch and allow it to return to how it was before, as it had breached his tenancy agreement with Norwich City Council.

And should he not comply within 28 days, he, his wife Isobel and their two children, 13-year-old Dylan and eight-year-old Oakley, could face eviction.

Mr Albert, 45, said: "We started it even before the lockdown and it really helps with my mental health. Before we did it we went around all of our neighbours and checked whether they would mind and everyone was really in favour of it.

Fruit and vegetables grown by Charles Albert as a form of therapy which he has been told to dig up o

Fruit and vegetables grown by Charles Albert as a form of therapy which he has been told to dig up Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden


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"We grow all kinds of fruit and vegetables there - strawberries, pumpkins, broccoli, peas, courgettes, you name it. We also share them with our neighbours once they're ready."

Mr Albert has rented the flat for 10 years and said the plot of land he uses was previously unkempt and served no purpose - and 34 of his neighbours have signed a petition to keep it as it is.

The petition to help save Charles Albert's garden, which he has been growing as a form of therapy, t

The petition to help save Charles Albert's vegetable garden Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

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He added: "Our children love learning about growing their own food and I would be utterly lost without it."

A letter sent to Mr Arnold invited him to work with the council on potentially adopting some land for a community project or to take on an allotment of his own.

However, it added: "Please ensure that you remove all planting, pots, and other items and return the land to its previous condition" and that he "could face tenancy enforcement" if the garden was not removed."

A spokeswoman for City Hall said: “It is really positive that these residents have come together to do something good, and we are keen to support people wanting to make the most of their local green spaces through our Outdoor Projects Network.

“There are substantial social and environmental benefits to maintaining a vegetable garden, but we do have a responsibility to make sure this activity and others adhere to relevant guidelines.

“We have already visited these residents to work with them so that they can keep this community garden growing.”

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