Thursday, April 2, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 2nd April 2015

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

Welcome news last week about the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks development. This fascinating local project has been on the cards for some years and now seems set to become reality with work due to commence on a visitor centre on the Fowlmead Country Park site within the next three months. 

 Plans are to have the visitor centre open by summer 2016, followed by the building, on the other side of the road, of an Enterprise Park, opening a year later.

The visitor centre, which will comprise a Kent mining museum, restaurant and cafe, conference centre and wedding venue, will be a large building of some 2,000 sq. metres of passive building design incorporating a green energy centre using solar photovoltaic technology and natural ventilation.

Funding for the development has been received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a sum of £200,000, a Coastal Communities Grant of £2.5million and public funding of £9.75million. In principle, there is agreement for £10million of private investment.

The project is a joint venture with Hadlow College, a land based college comprising of courses in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and arboriculture, animal husbandry, including horses, floristry and sport. The Enterprise Park will create a venue for further training and education courses for the college.

The proximity of Betteshanger, a very large brownfield site with enough capacity for 135 years of commercial opportunities, to the Sandwich Discovery Park, will secure opportunities for the enterprise zone to be extended. Ultimately, 700 jobs will be secured for local communities.

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