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Betteshanger Sustainable Parks development is working with Discovery Park in Sandwich

By Emily Stott

Hadlow College says their Betteshanger Sustainable Parks Project will not duplicate Discovery Park but work alongside it.

At a meeting at the former Pfizer site in Sandwich, the college's director of finance and resources Mark Lumsdon-Taylor gave a presentation to the tenants on how they can work together.

He explained the main way they can do this is through offering apprenticeships.

Designs for the Betteshanger Colliery project put forward by Hadlow College
Designs for the Betteshanger Colliery project put forward by Hadlow College

Mr Lumsdon-Taylor said: “We don’t want to duplicate Discovery Park, we want to complement it.

“The government is testing colleges now on their outcome, on the job output, that should have happened 10 years ago.”

He explained that the education facilities will train students specifically for jobs that are available in the hope of avoiding young people being out of work.

This could mean students will then go on to secure jobs at Discovery Park.

He added: “The plan is that they will grow and will come here and that’s the whole plan for Betteshanger.

“This isn’t just about business, it’s about social regeneration and sustainability.”

The Betteshanger Sustainable Parks scheme will see a training centre for students, sustainable energy production, and a mining heritage museum, as well as conference facilities.

Hadlow College finance director Mark Lumsdon-Taylor
Hadlow College finance director Mark Lumsdon-Taylor

The £110 million project has been developing since the launch in November last year at the House of Commons and in Dover.

It will now see an eco-lodge and healthy food production as well as renewable energy.

Mr Lumsdon-Taylor said: “It’s grown to incorporate the health side of things and this was never part of the original scheme but it’s part of the scheme now as this issue of obesity is massive in government at the moment.”

Tim Ingleton, head of inward investment said: “We’re seeing an increase in planning applications and interest the likes we haven’t seen in 30 years.”

It is hoped the first phase of the project will begin in September this year.

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