'I'm over the moon' - Man told his family vegetable patch can stay
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A family facing eviction from their council home over a vegetable patch built without permission has been told it can live on after all.
Charles Albert, 45, said he was "over the moon" that Norwich City Council had backed down on earlier demands to dismantle the communal vegetable patch on his Lakenham council estate — or face eviction within 28 days for breaching his tenancy agreement.
He said: "After hearing about what happened, someone from the Community Garden Project at the council got in touch to help fight our case.
"They said they really wanted to help us keep the garden and came down to inspect it and make recommendations.
"I then got a call a week or two later from someone else at the council: they told us the 28-day notice period no longer applied, we wouldn't have to dig up our garden and the person who sent us the letter demanding we did was in the wrong.
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"They actually apologised. They said they made a mistake and would learn from this moving forward."
Mr Albert is now getting public liability insurance to make sure the site is safe, and said he may be able to expand the patch through community project funding.
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After living in the estate for 10 years, he, his wife Isobel and two children Dylan and Oakley know their neighbours well.
All but one signed a petition in favour of the vegetable garden, where the family grows strawberries, carrots, pumpkins, broccoli, peas and courgettes to share among residents.
"We're just honestly over the moon", he said.
"That patch was a godsend in lockdown. I suffer badly from depression and anxiety, and just the thought of losing it sent me into a spiral."
A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said it was really positive the residents had come together to do something good.
She said: "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.”