'It's spoiled' - Family's community garden hit by council red tape

Glenn Ryan, right, and his family in the communal garden at Gentry Place, which they have made into

Glenn Ryan, right, and his family in the communal garden at Gentry Place, which they have made into an attractive space for the residents. With Glenn are his wife, Donna, daughter Shannon with her fiancé, Aaron Smith. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A family's "peaceful" community garden project has been hit by council red tape after they were told the land would need be zoned off between tenants and their efforts moved.

The Ryan family, who have lived at Gentry Place in Norwich for the past three years, decided in June to enclose a piece of land near their homes with lighted fencing — and turn the formerly barren space into "something pretty and pleasing" for the community.

Glenn Ryan, right, and his family in the communal garden at Gentry Place, which they have made into

Glenn Ryan, right, and his family in the communal garden at Gentry Place, which they have made into an attractive space for the residents. With Glenn are his wife, Donna, daughter Shannon with her fiancé, Aaron Smith. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

But now Glenn Ryan, 51, who lives with his wife Donna, daughter Shannon and her fiancé Aaron, has been told that if neighbours want to "claim" the land as communal space, it will have to be formally divvied up between all the tenants.

Improvements will then be subject to planning permission.

Mr Ryan said: "There can be no 'communal garden'. Well, that totally defeats the point. We're not doing this for us but for everyone to enjoy.


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"The whole thing is spoiled now. 

Glenn Ryan, right, and his future son-in-law, Aaron Smith, with a railway sign they have made in the

Glenn Ryan, right, and his future son-in-law, Aaron Smith, with a railway sign they have made in the communal garden at Gentry Place. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"We're not bad people at all, we just wanted to make the area peaceful.

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"Some neighbours have even been helping us maintain it."

After a complaint from another resident, Norwich City Council said it would "zone off" the land into individual gardens, and has given the Ryan family retrospective permission to adopt the area of land next to their own flat.

But they have been ordered to tear down all other fencing, and move all the furniture into their own 'zone'.

A spokeswoman for the council said: "While we support residents' wishes to cultivate areas around their homes, we need to make sure use of communal land is safe and fair for all residents.

The communal garden at Gentry Place which has been made into an attractive space for the residents b

The communal garden at Gentry Place which has been made into an attractive space for the residents by Genn Ryan and his family. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"Where residents come together to make use of communal land, we have initiatives in place to make this happen, and ask they approach us for permission."

The council added that there were health and safety issues on top of this, such as the gates opening outwards.

Other tenants said they are in support of the improvements.

The communal garden at Gentry Place which has been made into an attractive space for the residents b

The communal garden at Gentry Place which has been made into an attractive space for the residents by Genn Ryan and his family. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

One noted it had become a "lovely space" which was "barren" before, while another said it had become a "nice place to relax".

A birds-eye view of the garden

A birds-eye view of the community garden - Credit: Aaron Smith


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