Published: Monday, 10th May 2021

The new primary school at Rochester Riverside, Countryside and Hyde’s £419m regeneration project, has received planning approval for a two-form entry, allowing the school to cater for 420 pupils.

With construction expected to begin this summer, the new Rochester Riverside Church of England Primary School is expected to open in September 2022, when pupils of Nursery and Reception age will be admitted, with the school growing in size each year thereafter. The school, which will become part of the Pilgrim Multi-Academy Trust, will provide contemporary state-of-the-art classrooms and teaching areas along with sports and play facilities.

Designed by architects Bond Bryan, 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 exercise trail, and a multi-use games area which could be configured for two netball courts, or one seven-a-side football pitch.

The school will also have space for an outdoor stage for events, a nursery and reception play area, several plant beds and a habitat zone for teaching about local wildlife. In the centre of this external area are the remnants of Rochester’s historic City Wall, which will act as a focal point for the school grounds.

The school will be located in a new open space within the Rochester Riverside development, surrounded by three newly created public parks, Acorn Park, Acorn Play Area and Bridge Park. 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.

Delivering a school which fits the educational needs of the local community 

Andrew Usher, Managing Director, Partnerships South London, Countryside, commented: “We are excited to have received this new planning consent for Rochester Riverside Primary School, enabling us to deliver a school that better fits the educational needs of the local community. With construction of the new state-of-the-art facilities set to commence this spring, there is now real momentum behind the new primary school at our 1,400-home landmark development.”

Creating a sustainable community 

Guy Slocombe, Chief Investment Officer at Hyde, added: “The past year has given us all a renewed appreciation of the importance of dedicated, high-quality learning facilities for children, and the new Rochester Riverside Primary School will be a shining example of these. We are not just building new homes at Rochester Riverside but creating a sustainable community for the long term, of which the primary school is a vital part.”

Looking forward to watching the progress of the build

Jan Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of The Pilgrim Multi Academy Trust, said: “This planning permission is an exciting milestone in delivering our vision of extending an outstanding educational experience to more children and their families in the Rochester area. As we live through this pandemic, it is so important to be able to focus on the positives and Rochester Riverside Church of England Primary School and Nursery certainly provides this opportunity. The design of the school is inspiring and we are looking forward to watching the progress of the build. The pupils in our other schools are enthusiastic about contributing to a time capsule as we welcome Rochester Riverside into the Pilgrim family of schools.”

Ideal location for young people to learn and flourish

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “I am delighted that work to build the new primary school at Rochester Riverside is due to begin over the coming months. Rochester Riverside is proving to be a fantastic location for not only commuters, but families too. The new housing development has excellent amenities onsite as well as nearby, and the next stage of the site’s development will provide much needed school places for local children. The new primary school is not only set to have excellent facilities onsite for children to learn from nursery age up until year six, but it will be surrounded by new public parks making it the ideal location for Medway’s young people to learn and flourish.”

Rochester Riverside is the region’s flagship regeneration project, delivered by Countryside and Hyde over 12 years. A new mixed-tenure community of up to 1,400 new homes is being created, along with a new primary school, nursery, hotel, 2.5km river walkway, commercial units, parking, green open spaces, play areas and landscaping.

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