Works to mark the first phase of development at Rochester Riverside have begun. The works, that started on Tuesday, 31 May, will pave the way for the first building bricks to be laid on the 30 hectare site, by installing vital utilities and infrastructure.

Engineering contractors FM Conway Ltd will be carrying out a range of works necessary to serve the Rochester Riverside site and create road access for the Hyde Group, who are due to start construction on the first new affordable homes this September.

The initial works will include building a new road and footways onto the site and installing utility supplies including gas, electricity and drainage.

In addition, improvements will be made to the junction of Doust Way with the High Street and Eason’s Yard car park will be redesigned.

In order to carry out the works, Eason’s Yard car park will be temporarily closed so it can be redesigned, however 17 additional spaces have been provided on Rochester High Street while this re design takes place.

Access to the riverside walk will be available by using Blue Boar Lane or Gas House Road, but will not be possible between Doust Way and Furrells Road, while these works are taking place.

Vehicle access and walkways will also be provided for the student accommodation located off Doust Way.

The works are due to be completed by September 2011, in time for the Hyde Group to move on site and start to build 73 new flats, and one commercial unit, due for completion in spring 2013.

These will be the first new affordable homes on the Rochester Riverside regeneration site, partly funded by a grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Rodney Chambers, said: “This is a major milestone in the redevelopment and regeneration of the area and I’m delighted to see work starting on this key site.

“Rochester Riverside is the flagship project in Medway’s regeneration programme and by starting work on the roads and infrastructure to serve the development now, we hope to see construction start this September.”

Lee Amor, Executive Director at the South East England Development Agency, said: “Medway Council has been a strong lead partner in securing this great achievement. We are delighted with the outcome, given the economic challenges of securing investment in the current market, which will provide a significant boost to the local economy”

The Rochester Riverside site, jointly owned by Medway Council and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), has outline planning permission for 2,000 homes, hotels, shops, offices, bars and restaurants, two public parks, a primary school and the river walkway and cycle path that opened in 2008.