Basil Kidd's 1990 picture of the headgear at Betteshanger toppling down when the pit was demolished a year after it closed, ending production in the Kent Coalfield
Hundreds of jobs are to be created in a multi-million pound scheme finally set to transform the fortunes of Betteshanger, it can be revealed.
It is understood the government has given its blessing to the ambitious proposal that involves a trailblazing mix of green technology, business, education and tourism.
Betteshanger, once the largest colliery in Kent, was controversially shut in 1989 after 60 years with a huge loss of jobs.
Since the closure, successive governments have made numerous unsuccessful attempts to regenerate the 300-acre site.
The now defunct South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) backed a National Coalfields Programme that led to the creation of a children’s play area, a skateboard ramp, an industrial park and Fowlmead Country Park. New roads were built.
But Hadlow College, with its main campus just outside the village near Tonbridge, believed something more ambitious was needed to inject more prosperity into the area.
It specialises in the land-based sector and now runs campuses in Canterbury and Mottingham, London, and recently opened the Royal Greenwich Equestrian Centre.
It has also opened a free school that encourages pupils to take an interest in farming and horticulture.
The college has led the way on the Betteshanger project, seeing massive opportunities for an agricultural complex, pioneering green technology, and education facility.
It has worked closely with Dover District Council and other agencies on the scheme, which has been in the pipeline for several years.
See this week's East Kent Mercury for more details and reaction.