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Rochester Riverside crowned the “Winner of Winners” at the Housing Design Awards 2020

Rochester Riverside, the flagship regeneration scheme in Medway being delivered by Countryside and Hyde, has been crowned the Winner of Winners at the Housing Design Awards, the longest running housing awards programme in the UK, for the completed Phase 1B of the development.

Rochester Riverside was also awarded the Building for a Healthy Life Award, in recognition of the high-quality green open space being created. Designed by architects BPTW, Phase 1B at Rochester Riverside provides 131 homes as part of an overall masterplan which, when complete, will provide over 1,400 homes and 8,000 sq m of commercial space.

Launched by the government in 1948 to drive quality during the rebuild of post-war Britain, the Housing Design Awards champion skill and innovation in housebuilding and planning. This year’s awards were presented online by Gareth Capner, Chairman of the Housing Design Awards and the Rt Hon. Chris Pincher, Minister of State for Housing.

Rochester Riverside champions wellbeing and celebrates high-quality public space, while also incorporating the site’s natural heritage to allow the riverside biodiversity to thrive. A previously derelict brownfield site, when complete Rochester Riverside will feature 10 acres of landscaped and green open space such as play areas and parks, whilst the new 2.5 km public riverside walkway will open up a key part of the riverside for the first time, re-activating the riverfront for the whole community. Testament to the extensive consultation undertaken on the project, the scheme was influenced by the local architecture, creating a new urban quarter that echoes Rochester’s rich townscape.

Andy Fancy, Managing Director, Partnerships North & South London, Countryside, commented: “Our ambition for Rochester Riverside has always been to create an exemplar development, and so we’re thrilled that our work so far has been recognised. It’s a real honour to have been crowned the Winner of Winners against such a high-quality field of competitors and we’re looking forward to living up to and exceeding this standard as we continue to transform the Rochester Riverside site with new homes, community facilities and green, open spaces. With more Housing Design Awards than any other housebuilder, Countryside has a reputation for high-quality design and innovation, and this prestigious award reflects our commitment to building places people love.”

Guy Slocombe, Chief Investment Officer at Hyde, added: “Congratulations to everyone involved! Rochester Riverside is all about partnership and working together to deliver an outstanding community; one which continues to be extremely popular with buyers and renters alike. I am very proud of our team who continue to work at pace to deliver these much-needed homes in Kent. The quality is second to none and I am looking forward to seeing the development grow over the coming years. This award is testament to the passion, commitment and expertise of the whole team and I would like to thank everyone involved for their continued hard work.”

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “I am delighted that Rochester Riverside was crowned the Winner of Winners at the Housing Design Awards. There is a huge demand for new houses in Medway and we are committed to ensuring our residents are provided with a great choice of affordable and luxury homes. Not only does the Rochester Riverside development provide this, but it also boasts an excellent location. The multi-million housing development has a lot to offer the local community and is already a real asset to Medway.

“Rochester Riverside is a fantastic example of how local authorities can work with housing developers to produce a high-quality, and now an award-winning, development. Our monumental regeneration programme, which also looks to improve infrastructure, is ongoing to ensure that we can continue to provide growth for all and ensure Medway remains a great place to live, work, learn and visit.”

Barry Cummins, National Development Director of Homes England, said: “It’s great to see Rochester Riverside has been recognised by the Housing Design Awards being awarded the Winner of Winners as well as the Healthy Living Award. This project is a fantastic example of collaborative working between Homes England, Countryside, Hyde and Medway Council that will realise the Government’s ambition to deliver quality homes where they are needed most.”

Chris Bath, Partner at BPTW, commented: “This vibrant new neighbourhood responds to local housing needs through a rich mix of housing types and sizes, inspired by both the heritage of Rochester’s historic centre and the Medway dockyards. As someone who lives in the local area, I’m very proud to see the development being recognised in these prestigious national awards.

“Built upon a generous network of public spaces, we’re proud to see that the project has also helped shape a real sense of community, by reconnecting Rochester’s city centre to the river, and in turn opening up this unique riverfront for use and enjoyment by both new residents and the wider community.”

The Housing Design Awards operate as a cross-industry partnership between various arms of government, the private sector and all five major professional institutions - RICS, RIBA, RPTI, Landscape Institute and Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists.

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, green open spaces and landscaping.

The development as a whole continues to progress rapidly, following the move of the first residents into their homes a year ago and the start of construction in February 2018. 157 homes have now been sold at the development, comprising one- and two-bedroom apartments and three- and four-bedroom homes, with 128 homes completed and occupied. Later this year the first affordable homes at the development are anticipated to complete, providing further much-needed new homes for Rochester.