Grandmother, 86, is left devastated after killjoy Tory council destroys retirement garden she spent 17 years cultivating after branding it a ‘fire hazard’Gillian Davies had worked on her garden at the retirement home for 17 yearsSouth Kesteven District Council said she had no permission to do any gardeningBy Olivia Jones For Mailonline
Published: 18:30, 3 March 2023 | Updated: 21:25, 3 March 2023
A grandmother has been left devastated after killjoy council bosses destroyed her retirement home garden display – for being a ‘health and safety hazard’.
Gillian Davies, 86, was reduced to tears when workers ordered by South Kesteven District Council smashed up the garden she had spent hundreds of pounds and the last 17 years working on.
Robert Reid, the council’s cabinet member for housing and property, claimed the plants blocked a fire exit and it was in the interest of safety that they were removed.
The retired land worker began sprucing up the outdoor space with a friend when she moved into retirement home Emlyn’s Gardens, in Stamford, Lincolnshire, in 2006.
She transformed the shared garden by growing plants and adding ornaments and furniture, for which she won an award.
But she was left gobsmacked when the council told her she didn’t have permission to do any gardening and it would have to be removed.
Workers sent by South Kesteven District Council destroyed Gillian Davies’ garden, which she had been working on for 17 years. Pictured: Before and after
The 86-year-old (far right) was left devastated after the council ordered her retirement home garden display to be removed. Pictured L-R: Jillian Murcott and her daughter Claire White with Gillian Davies and her son Stephen Taylor
Mrs Davies’ plants were uprooted by the workers and dumped in a pile in the garden
Robert Reid, the council’s cabinet member for housing and property, claimed the plants blocked a fire exit
Last Friday she was heartbroken when killjoy council workers ripped up years of hard work and smashed her shed down with lump hammers.
Her potted plants were also uprooted and dumped in a pile in the garden and the wooden trellis she had put up was yanked down.
The grandmother-of-28 said: ‘They used a big hammer to smash my shed and plastic container, and started taking all my ornaments.
‘I have lost it all.’
Her son Stephen, 60, a caravan maintenance technician, added: ‘She hasn’t got long left. That’s all she has. She loved that garden.
‘She used to do it with her friend until her friend passed away. She’s done it for 17 years. She also won an award for the garden
‘What they’ve done now is a joke. I can’t see anyone going out there and using it at the moment.
‘It’s the way they smashed it all up, they used a big lump hammer that they smashed the shed up with.
‘She was a big gardener but because she’s 86 she can get about much now. She knew it wasn’t just her garden, it was for everyone to use.
‘She was saying to me ‘I’ve had enough of life’. How could they do this to an elderly and disabled woman.
‘They are saying it was a fire hazard and they’d fall over the rocks in the garden. But there’s paths here.
‘They smashed all her trellis up, her plastic box up. They pulled all her plants up and dumped them.
‘The lady next door was saying she wished she’d never moved in now.’
Another resident Jillian Murcott, 83, who moved into the council-owned retirement complex recently, said: ‘It is called Emlyn’s Gardens but where are the gardens?
‘I was in one house since 1978. I have come here and in one week I have seen more upheaval and destruction.’
This is a picture of the garden after the workers removed Mrs Davies’ displays
Pictured are the decorations removed from the garden display
The sheds, which were bought by a resident of the home, were also brought down
Councillor Robert Reid said: ‘Communal spaces are there for all tenants to enjoy but are owned by the council, which ensures they are safe and well-maintained.
‘The communal space at Emlyn’s Gardens provides an exit route in the event of a fire and therefore it is vital it is always clear.
‘The council met the tenant to explain the situation and they were also notified by letter of the need to clear personal items and remove the shed, but failed to do so.
‘Following their removal by the council, some of the items are now in the possession of a family member and others remain at Emlyn’s Gardens awaiting collection.
‘Work has now started to restore the garden, providing a safe area that all tenants can use and benefit from.’
South Kesteven District Council has been contacted by MailOnline for comment.