Go-ahead for first phase of 1,400-home Rochester scheme

Plans have been approved for the first 489-home phase of a 1,400-home regeneration scheme at Rochester in Kent, after planners concluded that the benefits of the scheme would outweigh 'limited adverse impacts'.

Rochester Riverside: 1,400-home development
Rochester Riverside: 1,400-home development

The plans, submitted at the end of July to Medway Council by housebuilders Countryside and Hyde, sought outline permission for the 1,400 homes, a primary school and nursery, as well as a pedestrian footbridge, parking, open space and landscaping.

Full planning permission was also sought for phases one, two and three of the development, which would see the construction of 489 homes and a hotel, along with 885 square metres of commercial floorspace, site access, parking, open space and landscaping.

The Rochester Riverside site comprises 21 hectares of brownfield land, stretching from Rochester Bridge in the north to Doust Way in the south.

According to a planning report, the council is unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply and, as such, the National Planning Policy Framework’s (NPPF) presumption in favour of sustainable development applied.

The report said that the application proposals were "broadly consistent with the overarching requirements" of local saved planning policies and a supporting supplementary planning document. However, it said that, as these were out-of-date they could not be afforded full weight.

Planners said that there is "strong in-principle support for a residential-led mixed-use development at the application site" and that the site is located in "a sustainable location in close proximity to Rochester town centre, and meets the three dimensions of sustainable development as detailed in the NPPF".

The report said that the scheme would provide jobs and see an increased number of residents spending in the local area, meeting the economic strand of sustainable development. It would also "meet the social role of sustainability by providing a mix of housing to meet the needs of present and future generations, assisting in contributing towards mixed communities".

The document said that, with regards to environmental impact, the adverse impacts of the development would be limited and could be effectively mitigated through the use of planning conditions and planning obligations.

Recommending approval, the report concluded that the benefits of the scheme "very clear outweigh the limited adverse impacts".

Consultancy bptw partnership acted on behalf of Countryside and Hyde.

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