Betteshanger visitor centre reaches new milestone
Betteshanger Sustainable Parks, located near Deal, in East Kent, has reached a new milestone with the 'topping out' of its new Visitor Centre.
The £40m project, incorporating a state of the art green energy visitor centre, was conceived by the Hadlow Group as part of the regeneration of the former Colliery. The 121 hectare site, which was one of the largest brownfield sites in Kent, is integral to the regeneration of the former mining community in East Kent.
The project aims to combine sustainable business and commerce, education, sustainable energy and tourism, making Betteshanger a flagship economic and social green project offering a place where work and play happens in synergy.
Phase I incorporates a new £8m Visitor Centre at Betteshanger Park, housing the Kent Mining Museum and Green Energy Centre as well as a restaurant, cycle centre, retail, conference suite and event facilities.
The Park will also boast outstanding cycle tracks and outdoor gym experience, making it a national and international destination for sport, tourism and business, all within a unique heritage location.
Betteshanger Sustainable Parks Director Richard Morsley said:
"The topping out ceremony is an exciting time for us as we have reached the next phase of the Park's development. With the steel frame in place, visitors can now get a good sense of the scale of the new building. To put this in context, it is similar to the length of London’s The Gherkin lying down! We are now looking forward to officially opening the Centre next year.”
Jim Davies, former Betteshanger Miner said:
"The closure of the Colliery was a huge blow to the miners, their families and local people. It is wonderful to see the new Visitor Centre rise from the ashes. The Mining Museum will incorporate the whole Kent coalfield, providing an invaluable legacy. Visitors will be able to learn more about what it was like for us and our memories will be preserved for future generations."
Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Deputy Group Principal and Deputy CEO at the Hadlow Group said:
"The regeneration of the Colliery is fundamentally important to East Kent, the County and for Europe. Our vision for Betteshanger Sustainable Parks is BIG and will see it established as an international visitor destination and a national beacon in Green Energy Technology, changing people’s view of energy. It will be a flagship sustainability project, providing future opportunities for a wide range of people and linking green technologies with old energy production - making energy history. The Park’s new Visitor Centre and improved facilities are a massive first step to achieving this.”
“The construction of the Visitor Centre has already helped the local economy through employing Kent companies and, through encouraging new visitors and employment opportunities, it will continue to provide much needed support for the area creating over 1,000 jobs during its 3 phases of development. It’s predicted the new development will generate £6.2m for the local economy.”
The second phase of development for Betteshanger Sustainable Parks will include Betteshanger Business, a bespoke green technologies business and education park of exemplary ‘low carbon’ buildings for companies in food security, environmental technology and green business. This more than a project, it is a fundamental shift in how business operates.
The tradition of ‘Topping Out’
- Putting the last structural beam or final roofing piece in place on a building is a major project milestone
- Many contractors place an Evergreen on top of the building. The Evergreen usually remains in place until the building is finished.
- In 14th century England it was customary to put a Yew tree branch at the highest point of the building to keep evil spirits at bay.
About Betteshanger Sustainable Parks
- Betteshanger Park, until recently known as Fowlmead Country Park, is operated as part of the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks scheme and is integral to the regeneration of the former mining community in East Kent. Facilities include a 3.5km road cycling track, 10km of mountain bike trails, leisure paths and established woodlands, wetlands and reed beds full of wildlife.
- Betteshanger Sustainable Parks is part of the Hadlow Group, which includes Hadlow College, a premier UK land-based college, ranked Ofsted Outstanding.
- The £40 million Betteshanger Sustainable Parks scheme, near Deal, in East Kent, will drive regeneration of the site and the area, combining sustainable business and commerce, education, sustainable energy and tourism.
- Located on the site of the former Betteshanger colliery, the scheme will see the 121-hectare site transformed into a much-enhanced Country Park, with new Visitor Centre encompassing the Kent Mining Museum and adjacent Business Park.
Posted on 18/10/2016