Report and Feedback on Initial Riverside Gardens Design and Themes

In July 2020 we published our initial design for a refreshed Riverside Gardens in Erith. The design was based on feedback and the four themes we developed with local people in the first stage of design and co-planning. Those four themes were;

  • Creating a destination and clear identity for the gardens
  • Connecting the gardens to the river
  • Improving play opportunities
  • Celebrating Erith’s Rich Heritage

We asked people to tell us what they thought of the new design through an online survey, virtual focus groups and on 1 to 1 phone conversations. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 we weren’t able to do any in person consultation. We hope to be able to be back in Erith in person in the near future when works can begin. Until then we have summarised what local people told us about the initial design. You can still view the initial design on the Greater Erith website and download the full consultation report.


The Four Themes

All four themes scored high when we asked local people to rate the new design against them. Three out of four themes scored above 70%, only Celebrating Erith’s scored below this at 50%.

Celebrating Erith’s Heritage

When we asked people to give us ideas on how we could celebrate Erith’s heritage we received ideas for both new heritage features for the gardens and comments on the existing heritage that they would like to keep. Popular options were new sculptures, retaining commemorative plaques and keeping the flagpole.

New Features for Gardens

The most popular new feature in the design was the new ramp connecting the river walk and the upper promenade followed by the stepped seating that overlooks the river; both of these features would create new ways for people to access the gardens from the river and enjoy the river walk.

We had lots of comments and suggestions from people about the play area with people sharing ideas on equipment, its size and layout. In the next stage of design and co-planning we will have more detailed proposal on the play area which will incorporate local people’s ideas.

Uses of a Refreshed Riverside Gardens

We asked people if the gardens looked like the initial design and how residents would use the gardens.  Most local people would want to use the gardens to enjoy the river and to relax in while others would like to use it for play and exercise.

Local People’s Views on the Initial Design

We had really positive responses from local people when we asked about how the new design would improve the gardens for them. Most local people said they would spend more time in the gardens and that they think the initial design would make it easier to move around.


Recommendations and next steps

After this round of co-design and engagement we will be developing the designs further and applying for planning permission. In the next stages of the project we will be looking at;

  • A focus on engagement regarding location and species of trees.
  • Developing more detailed proposals for the play area and undertake engagement with user groups.
  • Engaging interested stakeholders further on what new heritage features could look like.
  • Considering improvements within the gardens to support walking and cycling.
  • Communicating with stakeholders the steps we are taking to design out vandalism and ASB. (Anti-social behaviour)
  • Developing more detailed proposals for materials and furniture that are to be used in the refreshed gardens.
  • Planning bespoke focus group session to engage under-represented groups that so far have not been engaged in consultation. These are to include BAME, older and younger stakeholders.


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