New school at Rochester Riverside officially opened by the Bishop of Rochester

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Celebrations have been held to mark the opening of a new primary school in Rochester which has been built as part of a new housing development in the town.

Rochester Riverside C of E Primary School held a special event for VIP guests on Wednesday 20 March, with the Bishop of Rochester the Right Rev Dr Jonathan Gibbs blessing the school and cutting a ribbon to declare the new building officially open.

The Deputy Mayor of Medway Cllr Marian Nestorov and Rochester and Strood MP Kelly Tolhurst also attended.

The new school is located on Gas House Road within the new Rochester Riverside neighbourhood, which is being built by a joint venture between Countryside Homes and affordable homes provider Hyde, in partnership with Medway Council and Homes England.

Staff and pupils moved into the new school building – which was completed by Countryside Homes and Hyde – in September 2023.

The celebratory event also included the unveiling of a plaque by the Bishop of Rochester and a medal presentation to children by the Deputy Mayor of Medway, as well as worship which included Bible readings, songs and prayers. It was attended by around 250 people, including Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Education Cllr Tracy Coombs and representatives from the developers.

Brendan Evans, regional managing director at Countryside Homes, said: “The opening of Rochester Riverside C of E Primary School is an historic moment for this area, which is being completely transformed by the Rochester Riverside project.

“This former brownfield site is now a thriving neighbourhood and with this wonderful modern school now available to local families, it is a very attractive place to live.”

Andy Hulme, Chief Executive of The Hyde Group, said: “As a social housing charity committed to the communities and people we serve, the opening of this wonderful new school is a really significant moment.

“As well as building much-needed affordable homes with our partners, we’re ensuring the community has the facilities and infrastructure it needs to create a thriving place for people to call home. The enthusiasm of the kids for their new school was great to see.”

Cllr Tracy Coombs, Medway Council Portfolio Holder for Education, said: “It’s great to see the official opening of this fantastic new primary school building.

Rochester Riverside is our flagship housing development and it is brilliant to see the school come to life from the original plans. We wish all the children who go here the best for the future.”Parkside Quarter - Rochester Riverside opening (147).jpg

On opening Rochester Riverside C of E Primary School, the Bishop said: “I am delighted to have opened Rochester Riverside Church of England Primary School. It has been fabulous to see the school’s wonderful facilities and to meet some of the staff, parents and children who are beginning to create a whole new community of learning right in the heart of this historic city, and in an area that used to be a busy commercial district.

“The opening of this new school is a story of transformation and new life in this part of Rochester, and it is marvellous that the Church of England is at the heart of this as part of our commitment to the flourishing of children and young people, and communities right across Medway, Kent, Bromley and Bexley.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Pilgrim Multi Academy Trust – which runs Rochester Riverside C of E Primary School – Janet Taylor, said: “This is such a special event in the journey of the Pilgrim Multi Academy Trust and Rochester Riverside Church of England Primary School and we are blessed to have the Bishop of Rochester to officially open our fourth Church school.

“The new building is a beautiful and unique place for the children of Rochester to learn. A place that is surrounded by the heart of historic Rochester’s inspiring buildings; with the cathedral and castle so close by; we even have a Roman wall running through the site itself.

“Situated on the banks of the River Medway but part of a brand new development, the new school and the children attending it can look forward and be part of the exciting future in Rochester – a new community, building a bridge from the past into the future.”

The Rochester Riverside Regeneration project is planned to ultimately bring 1,400 properties to the 50-acre site. And as well as the new school, there’s a plaza with shops and a hotel and public open space including a river walkway.

Countryside Homes and Hyde have delivered 502 homes in the first three phases of the residential part of the scheme, with 171 homes recently completed in the third phase, Parkside Quarter.

The next phase of the development, which comprises 154 properties, already has planning permission and is expected to launch next year.

Countryside Homes is part of Vistry Group, which also includes Bovis Homes and Linden Homes.

To find out more about Countryside Homes developments in the area, visit countrysidehomes.com.

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