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Home Deal News Article
The Hadlow College Betteshanger Sustainable Parks project will transform the 121 hectare colliery site into a global laboratory producing green energy.
The scheme is being unveiled today in the House of Commons and in a separate launch at Dover Marina Hotel.
The development will include a green technologies business park, a research, development and education centre, and an eco-visitor centre which it is hoped will attract 100,000 tourists each year.
The project has received a wealth of investors and the first phase has already been pre-let to two tenants.
The aim is to demonstrate how the UK can move from dependence on fossil fuels to renewables in the form of a large-scale biomass energy centre at the site near Deal.
Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said: "This is a real victory for the hard work of so many who have fought so hard to make this project happen.
"It has been a long battle for me to deliver the government funding needed. Yet at last we seem to have got there and Hadlow College deserve high praise for the future they are seeking to make.
“The scheme is backed by £11million public sector investment and £29million support from private investors, with further opportunities for more to get involved.
"Investors will have the strongest support from the community, a community committed to seeing more jobs, money and economic growth."
Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, director of finance and resources at Hadlow College, said: "The supply of incubator space for green technology companies and the food and drink industry is critical for Kent to build on its proximity to international markets in Europe, London and globally via Manston Airport."
The Betteshanger site is owned by the Homes and Community Agency (HCA), which selected Hadlow College as the preferred bidder.
The site was sold to the college in the summer of this year and work is expected to begin in spring 2014.
Kent Coalfield had four pits. Chislet was the first to close in 1969 and Tilmanstone shut in 1986, followed a year later by Snowdown. Betteshanger continued to produce coal until 1989.
Fowlmead Country Park on the old spoil heap opened in 2007 and from its entrance at a newly-built roundabout a route was made towards the old pithead site off Circular Road where the former offices still stand.
It was hoped the land would be developed to create jobs, but a hold-up on adopting the feeder road, plus the arrival of the recession, ended that plan.
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