Published: 00:00, 07 January 2015
| Updated: 10:09, 07 January 2015
The Betteshanger Sustainable Park project has been granted £215,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the Kent Mining Heritage Museum.
The application was a two-stage process totalling £1.5 million. The initial sum has been confirmed and will support the development of the museum, including recruitment of the design team and other key posts.
The museum will form a vital part of the 121-hectare park, a 21st century environmental complex on the former Betteshanger colliery site featuring a green technologies site, research and education centre, and eco-visitor centre.
Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said: “This is fantastic news for Betteshanger and our community. The Heritage Lottery Fund award caps a remarkable year for the Betteshanger project. We will be able to ensure that our rich mining history is properly celebrated.
“It’s fantastic the opening in 2016 is right on track.”
Richard Morsley, director of Betteshanger Sustainable Park, added: “The success of the HLF funding application recognises the importance of east Kent’s coal mining heritage and the need to secure this heritage for future generations.
“The Kent Mining Heritage Museum will be a venue where this heritage is explored and where Kent’s unique position as a new coalfield community formed in the 20th century, drawing miners from all over the UK, can be better understood.
“This will be drawn together in an experience which is exciting and engaging for visitors of all ages – young and old.”
The museum has been devised to celebrate and preserve Kent’s coal mining heritage, and the museum will house a collection of objects, archives and people’s memories.
The first £40 million phase hopes to create 1,000 jobs giving a much needed boost to the area.
Dover District Council leader Cllr Paul Watkins said: “This is a key component of the plans for the Betteshanger Sustainable Park and will be a popular attraction for local people and tourists alike. The aim is to provide a really unique visitor attraction that will combine mining heritage alongside new sustainable-energy technology.”
The Kent Mining Heritage steering group has been leading the museum project, and member Jim Davies said it will provide a legacy for generations.
More by this authorEmily Stott