Rochester Riverside
Rochester, Medway
1,300 new homes
Planning authority
Medway Council
Shortlist First Time Buyer Awards Best New Development in the South, 2019

HTA and bptw partnership have been selected as the architects for the design and delivery of a major mixed-use regeneration scheme at Rochester Riverside. HTA Design will lead on the overall masterplan whilst bptw will develop detailed designs for Phase 1.  Last week Countryside and The Hyde Group were announced by Medway Council and the Homes and Communities Agency as the preferred bidder to transform the 74 acre (30 hectare) site which adjoins Rochester’s historic town centre and the new railway station.

Both architectural firms collaborated on the competition-winning design which will create a thriving residential community with 1300 new homes. Family sized accommodation will comprise 50% of the homes, with 25% affordable provision across the entire development. The public-realm led approach to the site will organise mixed uses around the existing creek landscapes and riverfront. Key routes will create people-friendly space that integrate the site back into the historic town centre and Rochester High Street. The masterplan will deliver more than 108,000 sq. ft of non-residential floorspace including a new community based primary school, nursery, hotels, bar and restaurant, gym, healthcare facilities, office space and a number of retail units. A network of roads, avenues and lanes will providing safe and convenient access for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles alike. Over 10 acres of public open space will include a 2.5km riverside walkway, parks and play areas with the designs extending the look and feel of the natural river landscape through distinctive planting and the encouragement of wildlife and birdlife.

“This opportunity at Rochester Riverside will provide an innovative and deliverable extension to the town centre that will contribute to the overall regeneration already taking place in Rochester and the wider Medway towns. We look forward to creating a series of new neighbourhoods that respond to the dramatic site. The future place will become a destination in its own right and we are privileged to be part of the process.”

Colin Ainger, Partner, HTA

Phase 1 will see 198 homes built on the site with 12 unique house and apartment typologies which have been specifically designed for the riverside. Homes range from detached riverside houses to affordable apartments, with a landscaped setting for every home drawing on the natural heritage of the riverside. As part of the masterplan strategy to define hierarchy, character areas and neighbourhood spaces within the masterplan, elevations have been separated into those that define the riverfront, park and creeks, and those that define local street elevations. Larger homes are located on the riverside, parks and creeks and are predominantly three storeys. 

The scheme takes inspiration from the local area by referencing Rochester’s rich palette of materials, particularly its colourful brickwork, and design features such as bay windows and dormers. A range of elevation treatments across the scheme have been developed from an analysis of Rochester’s vernacular to form a unique elevation approach that responds directly to the local context. Varying roof types reflect the variety of Rochester’s High Street. Recessed brick details and projecting bays have been incorporated into elevations to emphasise living rooms and to create three dimensional elements that add interest and variety to streetscapes.

The first planning application will likely be submitted in late 2016 and, subject to planning consent, work on site is scheduled to start in June 2017. The scheme will be delivered within twelve years.

“We are delighted to be involved in delivering this amazing transformation for Rochester Riverside which we believe will hugely benefit the local community. The success of the work undertaken so far has been as a result of a real collaborative effort driven by Countryside and Hyde. We have worked closely and successfully with HTA and the entire design team throughout the process and look forward to carrying this on as we work towards the first planning application. We are pleased to be designing high quality homes in Medway on such a large scale, building on the current work we are doing on various development sites across the area.”

Mark Bottomley, Partner, bptw

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