A group of volunteers were left “devastated” when their community garden was cut down by a new shop owner.

The garden, planted by the Harrow Civic Residents Association, was cut back on April 26 by the new proprietor of the site where the Nisa shop is on Station Road, in Harrow.

Jo Stephenson, who is a member of the resident’s association, said: “When I saw what had happened I wanted to cry.”


Harrow Times:

Jo noticed the destruction on her way to work on the Thursday morning.
“So many people worked so hard to make this garden so we’re all devastated by what has happened,” she said.

The garden, which was built in 2015, cost over £4,000 to install and was funded by grants from gardening charity Harrow LEAF, Harrow Council, The Jaspar Foundation, Harrow Central Mosque and Nisa’s own Making A Difference Locally fund.

Pupils from nearby Marlborough Primary School were among those who helped plant the garden and the former shop owner also helped to fund the garden in the first place.


Harrow Times:

When Jo went into to the shop to ask what had happened she was told that the owner had cut it down because it “needed tidying”.

Mr Jeeba Kumar, 40, who has been the independent owner of the shop for just over a month admitted to chopping down the garden, saying: “They are maintaining it like a forest.”

He added: “I have tried to call their number to sort it out, but no one is answering. 

“The garden was not maintained properly, it was becoming overgrown and badly looking.”

Jo, from nearby Rosslyn Crescent, said it is “not true” to say the garden was overgrown and “like a forest”.

Adding: “To an inexperienced gardener, I suppose the daffodils could look untidy, but you are supposed to leave daffodils to die.

“We understand this may have been an honest mistake, but there were plants that were about to flower and their stems were sliced straight through.”

On Mr Kumar failing to reach the resident’s association, Jo said: “We are quite easy to find, I am not sure how much effort he went to to find us.”

She added that “several members” of the group had called and emailed Mr Kumar and received no response.

On April 29, a group of volunteers went back to the garden to repair some of the damage.

Jo said she believed the owner cut back the flowers because he intends to install an outdoor fruit and vegetable stand which Mr Kumar denies. 

Greenhill ward councillor, Sue Anderson was among those who tried to recover the garden.

Mrs Anderson said: “The community garden has been a welcome splash of colour and vibrancy in Station Road and is much loved by residents and passers-by.

“It was such a shame this misunderstanding has occurred, I hope that this can be resolve to the advantage of all parties involved.”

Jo said: “We are now keen to work with the new shop owner to ensure the garden continues to be a source of pleasure for local people, who are also his customers.”

All Nice properties are independently owned and a spokesperson said this was a local matter.