Published: 09:02, 07 March 2014
Plans for a tourist destination at a former colliery will receive a £2.5m boost.
Government money will support proposals by Hadlow College to create 107 jobs in part of the old Betteshanger Colliery, which will become an exhibition space for sustainable technology.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander announced today that regeneration plans in Rochester and Chatham High Street will also receive nearly £600,000.
It is hoped 30 new businesses will set up at the Sustainable Energy Visitor Centre at Betteshanger once the project comes to fruition.
It will also be home to a museum celebrating east Kent’s mining heritage.
The visitor centre is part of £40m plans for the 121 hectare site put forward by the college, aiming to create 1,000 jobs as part of a global laboratory producing green energy.
Hadlow College’s finance director Mark Lumsdon-Taylor said: “The creation of a nationally-significant visitor destination underpinned by environmental technology and innovation cannot be underestimated.
“With the wider project including celebration of the important Kent Mining Heritage and commercial development, this scheme will act as a centre for innovation, creativity and opportunity.
“This will make a real and substantial difference to east Kent and we could not be more delighted.”
Dover District Council leader Paul Watkins said: “This is tremendous news and another major step forward for the future vision for Betteshanger.
“This unique project will celebrate the coal mining past of this coastal community whilst also building a sustainable future with new opportunities for business growth and employment.”
The money has come from the Coastal Communities Fund, set up to help towns create jobs.
So far it has supported more than 6,500 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships.
It has been extended by another £64m for another year to attract bids from flood management schemes in communities affected by the extreme weather this winter.
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