Published: Wednesday, 13th May 2020

The new primary school at Rochester Riverside, Countryside and Hyde’s £419m regeneration scheme in Medway, has received planning approval, marking the latest community infrastructure to get underway.

The new school is a one form entry primary with two form core facilities in order to facilitate future expansion from 210 pupils to 420, with classes ranging from nursery to Year 6.

The school provides contemporary state of the art classrooms and teaching areas along with sports and play facilities.

The two-storey building will sit on a raised deck, which provides outdoor teaching space directly from the nursery and reception classrooms. The school grounds will contain a range of facilities that contribute to learning, health and wellbeing, including a grassed sports area with trim trial, and a multi-use games area which could be configured for two netball courts, or one seven-a-side football pitch – that will also be open for public use outside of school hours.

The school will also have space for several plant beds, with a mix of ornamental trees and shrubs, an outdoor stage for events, a nursery and reception play area, and a habitat zone. In the centre of this external area are the remnants of Rochester’s historic City Wall, which will form a focal point for the school grounds.

The school will be located in a new open space, surrounded by new public parks which will include Acorn Park, Acorn Play Area and Bridge Park, that are being created as part of Rochester Riverside. This space opens out on to the River Medway and river walkway, affording views of the river and the historic centre of Rochester. Classrooms will benefit from views of the River Medway and Bridge Square, as well as high levels of natural light which will provide a conducive environment for learning.

The school will provide much needed places for children

Andy Fancy, Managing Director, Partnerships North & South London, Countryside, commented: “It’s fantastic that we now have the green light to move forwards with this first-class modern school for Rochester. When complete, the school will provide much needed new places for children in the area and will come with state-of-the-art facilities with green, open parks on the doorstep. There is now real momentum behind Rochester Riverside, and we’re so proud to see the site transform into a new riverside destination for Medway.”

Creating sustainable communities

Guy Slocombe, Chief Investment Officer at Hyde, added: “If we are serious about creating sustainable communities for the long term, providing great facilities must go hand-in-hand with building new homes, and so along with the new hotel, Co-op and Costa Coffee, the primary school is an extremely important and welcome addition to Rochester Riverside.”

Fantastic community 

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “We’re extremely pleased that plans for the school have been approved so that progress can continue to be made with Medway’s flagship housing development. Rochester Riverside is a fantastic community with amenities onsite and nearby, and it is also incredibly important that this development provides school places for children. The new primary school is set to have excellent facilities for children to learn from nursery age up to year six, as well as sports and play areas.

“I wish everyone involved in the development well during this time, in particular the residents who have already moved into their new homes. I am looking forward to watching the site further transform, grow and thrive.”

Rochester Riverside is the region’s flagship regeneration project. Delivered by Countryside and Hyde over the next 12 years, it will create a new mixed-tenure community of up to 1,400 new homes with a primary school, nursery, as well as a hotel, commercial units, parking, open space and landscaping.

The development is progressing quickly, with the first residents having moved into their homes in June 2019 following the start of construction in February 2018. The new Travelodge hotel opened in November 2019, followed by the new Co-op and Costa Coffee stores. Later this year, the first affordable homes at the development will complete, with more residents joining this growing and thriving riverside community.

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