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Erith: Residents petition to save green site

PUBLISHED: 12:50 08 July 2011

MP for Erith and Thamesmead Teresa Pearce being presented with the petition by members of FORG including Kaitlyn Boxall, Claudia Brookes and Charles Ola

MP for Erith and Thamesmead Teresa Pearce being presented with the petition by members of FORG including Kaitlyn Boxall, Claudia Brookes and Charles Ola

»A group which was set up to oppose a new development on a green site have presented a petition to their MP.

Members of Friends of Riverside Gardens, (FORGE) including an 11-year-old pupil, handed over the appeal to Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce on Friday.

The organisation was set up last year when plans for the Erith Western Gateway – which include proposals to build homes, shops and leisure services – were announced.

The development would however retain a portion of the green space but the group has collected more than 1,400 signatures opposing the plans.

Chairman of FORGE, Alec Tapper, from Erith, said: “The petition states that this gifted land should not be developed.

“We want to protect the entire Riverside Gardens which are cherished and valued as a green open space.

“We also want to get it established as a town green to prevent any buildings going on to the site and want to keep it as it is. “It’s the only green open space in the centre of Erith.”

The council plan to regenerate the area at sites located between Erith town centre and the station.

There are currently more than600 members of FORGE who are actively attempting to halt development plans.

Bexley council is currently reviewing comments from a public consultation which ended in April and an announcement is due to be made later this summer.

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of the work of FORGE and the petition and are listening carefully to the points they are making, as well as those of other members of the local community.”

“The proposals are to bring forward development that will enable the modernisation of the gardens, improving the connections to both the river and the town.

“Current proposals suggest that 11 per cent of the footprint might be developed.”

“There would also be a new landscaping scheme that would actually provide more ‘usable’ space than is available at present and make the gardens fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.

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