A community garden set up by residents on the derelict site of a former petrol station will be dismantled next month.

The “guerrilla gardeners” behind the Lewes Road Community Garden have announced they will be packing up the popular makeshift park, on the corner of Edinburgh Road and Lewes Road, Brighton, after its owners announced plans to develop the site.

Belfast-based Alburn Minos Development Ltd has planning permission to build two ground floor shops and seven first and second floor apartments and has signalled its intention to start work.

The gardeners have asked for until January to pack up the park, which they created by bringing in turf, plants and furniture after breaking in and clearing the eyesore site.

Duncan Blinkhorn, one of the founders of the community garden, said: “We have requested that we continue to have access to the site until the beginning of January to give us time to dismantle and move, and also to ensure that as a community we can share in this process with some dignity, some fun and some ceremony.

“We anticipate that the owners will be amenable to this.”

The group is planning a goodbye Christmas party in the garden on Sunday, December 6, from 2pm until 5pm and has appealed for volunteers to help dismantle it the following weekend.

Alburn was unavailable to comment on the plans yesterday but it is understood they are likely to involve a supermarket chain convenience store.

Tesco is rumoured to be involved with the plans, although the developer has previously worked with Sainsbury’s.

Councillor Keith Taylor, who represents the area on Brighton and Hove City Council, said he was disappointed to hear of the closure.

In June he negotiated with Alburn to allow the garden to remain in use while the site was still spare.

Coun Taylor said: “The guerrilla gardeners have shown us what can be done to transform space in a really positive way which involves the whole community.

“The community garden idea is one whose time has most definitely come.

“In a few short months the project has brought all kinds of people together to create their own space.”

Dozens of residents were involved in setting up the garden and many more have taken part in film screenings, yoga classes, parties and other events staged there.

Mr Blinkhorn said the gardeners hoped to find a new site but would concentrate in the meantime on finding somewhere to take the items gathered at the garden.

He said some of them could be spread around between nearby Fairlight Primary School, a vacant site in Hollingdean Road, The Level and William Clarke Park.