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Betteshanger build

Work begins at Betteshanger and local companies benefit

Work on the new £7.5m Green Energy Visitor Centre at Betteshanger Country Park, near Deal, has got underway.

The new 2,000 sq. m. centre will include the Kent Mining Museum and Green Energy Centre as well as a restaurant, cycling centre, retail, conference and event facilities as well as improved outdoor play equipment.

The Visitor Centre, the first phase of the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks development, is a project led and managed by the Hadlow Group. Kent-based contractor Marpaul Ltd has been named as the managing contractor acting on behalf of Hadlow College.  With the tendering process now well underway, many local companies will secure contracts.

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Group Director of Finance and Resources at Hadlow Group said:  “This marks the next exciting phase of our plans to create an eco-tourism and leisure destination for East Kent as part of the wider Betteshanger Sustainable Parks project and is the culmination of seven years of development and commitment.”

“At the heart of the project is a celebration of the area’s mining community, making the connection between our energy needs of the past and the role of green energy production in the future.”

“Using local suppliers, contractors and consultants means we maximise the impact of the project for the local economy and keep the environmental footprint of the project as small as possible, which is fundamental to what we are seeking to achieve at Betteshanger Sustainable Parks.”

The Visitor Centre will be built to the highest energy performance standards and aims to have an ‘Excellent’ BREAAM rating and one of the lowest EPC ratings nationally. The Visitor Centre will generate energy through a biomass boiler and a photovoltaic solar array, and is of passive design, minimising its energy usage.

Richard Morsley, Director, Betteshanger Sustainable Parks, said: “We currently welcome over 50,000 visitors a year to the Country Park and we are extremely excited about what we will be able to provide for them in the future. The Park will remain open throughout the works but we ask our visitors to bear with us while we improve the facilities.”

“Hoardings have been erected to ensure the public’s safety during the construction process and the current Visitor Centre will remain open until the new one is completed. This is a big project and there will be some disruption but hopefully fewer visitors will be affected as we are beginning work in the winter months.”

The adjacent Betteshanger Business Park, the second phase of the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks develop, will provide a home for businesses to enable them to focus on developing the energy technologies of the future, and deliver jobs and training for our young people.

Posted on 07/12/2015