Homeless man ordered to leave carpark he had transformed into his own residential garden

Richard Garstand who has been asked to move from his homeless garden (Swindon Advertiser / SWNS)

A homeless man who transformed a carpark into his own residential garden has been ordered to leave.

Richard Garstand who has been asked to move from his homeless garden (Swindon Advertiser / SWNS)
Richard Garstand who has been asked to move from his homeless garden (Swindon Advertiser / SWNS)

Richard Garstang, 59, started off with a bit of cardboard and a few clothes, but has now made the homely patch complete with potted plants, framed pictures and a collection of soft toys.

Former printer Richard has lived in the back of the staff car park for five months and has forged a relationship with local workers – even keeping a close watch on their cars.

But now Swindon Borough Council have ordered him to leave his al fresco home behind.

(Swindon Advertiser / SWNS)
(Swindon Advertiser / SWNS)

Richard said: “When I first came here I didn’t have anything really but then this nice lady called Teresa from the Earth Angels group [volunteers who help the homeless] gave me a bed and some blankets.

“I’ve made all this myself by picking things up from pound shops and 50p shops, I get the flowers and plants from Morrisons.

“I want to make the place nice to live in, I’m not doing anyone any harm and I get on well with everyone.

“I even protect the cars in the car park for the people that work upstairs because you get some people up to no good round here.

“Where am I supposed to go with all this stuff, it’s not fair at all.”

(Swindon Advertiser / SWNS)
(Swindon Advertiser / SWNS)

Richard moved to Swindon, Wilts., to work as a printer in the 80s before falling on hard times.

He has named different sections of his garden after various people who have helped him since he arrived at the carpark.

The makeshift garden is under the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon and staff say they’ve always got on well with Richard.

(Swindon Advertiser / SWNS)
(Swindon Advertiser / SWNS)

Theatre buildings manager Simon Franklyn said: “We haven’t got a problem with Richard, he has always been fine with us.

“In fact last week one of our staff was being verbally abused by the service door and he ran over and protected her.”

A spokesman for Swindon Borough Council said: “We spoke to Mr Garstang yesterday and advised him that he cannot stay where he is as we have received complaints from local businesses.

“He is also sleeping in a private car park and secure area for those working in Theatre Square.

“We have not given Mr Garstang a deadline to move on, but we are keen to give him as much help as possible.

“In fact our Housing Options team were working hard to support him in his bid to secure sheltered accommodation, but he has not been in contact with the Council for two months.

“If Mr Garstang comes in to see our Housing Options duty officer, we will be happy to advise him of his housing options and refer him for an emergency bed for a period of time.”


  1. Sheltered accommodation? I bet it’s full of druggies. When I split from abusive husband in RAF to the point I was ill from anxiety and agoraphobia I was told that council wouldn’t even give me emergency homeless accommodation as I didn’t have local connections. I had to borrow £2000 for a deposit and rent in advance for private renting and I didn’t get the deposit back.


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