Rochester returns to its riverside

Nick Myall
Tuesday 31 Oct 2017

bptw partnership and HTA Design secure planning consent for 1,400 new homes at Rochester Riverside

bptw partnership and HTA Design have secured planning consent for up to 1,400 new homes at Rochester Riverside – a transformational mixed-use regeneration project being delivered by Countryside and the Hyde Group. Medway’s flagship regeneration scheme has been given the green light for development, with Medway Council giving outline approval for the £400 million seven-phase masterplan, alongside detailed approval for the first three phases which will deliver 489 new homes and commercial facilities.

Work is anticipated to begin later this year with the first new homes due for completion in 2019. The site will make a huge contribution to address local housing needs, with 25% of new homes earmarked as affordable.

As part of the hybrid application, bptw produced detailed designs for 459 of the 489 homes, 885 sq.m of commercial floorspace, and a new 81 bed hotel located adjacent to Rochester station as part of the first three phases of the Rochester Riverside development. HTA led on the outline seven-phase masterplan for the 24.5 hectare former brownfield site, which, when complete, will deliver up to 1,400 new homes and over 8,000 sq.m of non-residential floorspace, including a brand new local primary school. 

The Rochester Riverside masterplan aims to establish a mixed and diverse community, with 25% affordable housing across the entire site. In the initial three phases, bptw has created a varied range of bespoke house, maisonette and apartment typologies, to be set in a landscape that draws on the natural heritage of the site, specifically designed for the historical riverside location. bptw and HTA have been commissioned to produce the post-planning drawings in order to start on site in November and enable occupancy in the first homes in 2019.

The approval of this planning application represents the most significant step in the regeneration of this important Medway site and marks an important moment in the site’s history that will start to deliver major regeneration benefits to the site and to the city.

The site connects the town to the River Medway, with the proposals designed to complement the fabric of the city whilst creating a new vibrant urban quarter. The design team has drawn inspiration from the wider Medway area, referencing the rich fabric found in the conservation areas of Rochester and also the character of Chatham and the Historic Naval Dockyard. Rochester Riverside will implement a public open space network that improves connectivity across the site and builds on connections to the river front. The network will provide a number of new urban spaces as well as a series of distinctive open spaces, orientated to provide views to Rochester and the Medway, forming a cohesive chain of recreational opportunities which link back to Rochester via a 2.5km circular trail.

The planning application was overseen by the bptw planning team, and the proposals for the Rochester Riverside masterplan are the result of close collaboration between bptw partnership, HTA Design, Countryside and Hyde. The project has also benefitted from an extensive and inclusive design development process with Medway Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and the local community. 

Chris Bath, Architectural Director at bptw partnership, said: “Rochester Riverside is one of our largest projects to date at bptw partnership, and the result of a fulfilling collaboration with our project partners – not least Countryside, Hyde and HTA Design. We worked with Medway Council from the beginning: and their level of commitment to and engagement with the project was impressive, and was certainly a major contributor to the project’s success so far.”

Colin Ainger, Partner at HTA Design LLP, said: “We are delighted that the proposals have received consent and look forward to being part of the team who will deliver, what feels like, the missing piece of the puzzle in Rochester. As the new waterfront homes, spaces and facilities are delivered, this dormant site will spring to life and, we hope, will be a popular destination for local people, as well as a great place to live for new residents.”

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “Rochester Riverside is a significant development in the regeneration of Medway, bringing hundreds of homes and jobs to the area. There will be a school, nursey and hotel, making the new development a fantastic place to live, work, learn and visit. Rochester Riverside will sit alongside the waterfront and is a stones throw away from Rochester railway station and the historic heart of the town centre. We are committed to providing more opportunities and affordable housing for the people of Medway and I am looking forward to seeing work begin in the new year.”

Andy Fancy, Managing Director at Countryside Partnerships South, said: “We are thrilled to have the green light so we can begin work on this exciting project. Rochester Riverside will transform the area by offering new homes that will appeal to the whole community and provide a vital new hub for the local area. Throughout the planning process we worked with our project partners and the local community to deliver a landmark scheme that is not only in keeping with the surrounding architecture but will benefit Rochester. We are delighted to be able to get started.”

David Gannicott, Group Development Director of the Hyde Group, said: “We welcome news that Medway Council has given planning consent for the ambitious plans for Rochester Riverside. These plans will deliver much needed affordable new homes for local people and we are delighted to be working in close partnership to transform this area of Rochester.”

Rochester Riverside will be built in seven phases over 12 years, with completion of the entire development expected by 2030.

Nick Myall

News editor

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