A PETITION containing nearly 1,500 signatures to save Erith’s Riverside Gardens from redevelopment, has been presented to MP for Erith and Thamesmead Teresa Pearce.

The petition was handed over in the gardens in Erith High Street by residents and members and supporters of the pressure group Friends of Erith Riverside Gardens (FORGE).

Ms Pearce will now present it on the floor of the House of Commons.

Bexley Council has earmarked a quarter of the gardens for a tower block of flats and plans to sell the plot to a developer.

But FORGE, which has attracted more than 600 members in six months, is putting together an application to have the gardens declared a town green, which would outlaw any development.

The gardens, which currently have open access to the public, cover almost three acres of the riverfront in Erith’s town centre and are part of the Erith Riverside conservation area.

Bexley hopes to sell the part of the gardens near the junction with West Street, where the flagpole is located.

As part of its case for the gardens to be declared a town green, FORGE has done extensive research into their history.

It claims the flagpole area was transferred by way of a gift, from William Cory and Sons on September 1 1967, so the land could be added to the gardens.

A FORGE spokeswoman said: “We believe a gift, given in good faith should not be sold off, and the proposed action by the council goes against the letter and spirit of this gift.”

She added: “Local residents are very upset and cannot believe their council would sell off what was gifted to Erith in good faith, by a local company.”

In the original document of the transfer of the land, also known then as Railway Station Wharf, it noted the council was acquiring the site “for permanent objects not involving a resale or other disposition”.

FORGE has written to Ms Pearce and Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett, London Assembly member James Cleverly, London Mayor Boris Johnson and all Bexley councillors to support its campaigbn to save “the only Thames riverside open space in Bexley”.