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150623 Rear view

Members get exclusive preview of new Visitor Centre

As the steel structure for the state-of-the-art new Visitor Centre at Betteshanger Park, near Deal, nears completion, annual members were invited on a special visit on Saturday September 3rd to learn more about the vision for the 250-acre country park. The afternoon event included a briefing and exclusive tour of the construction site for the new £8m Visitor Centre.

The new facility, situated on the site of the former Betteshanger Colliery, is due for completion in spring 2017. The iconic building will house the Kent Mining Museum, a Green Energy Centre, conferencing and events facilities, a café serving local produce plus an Outdoor Centre. It will link with improved external facilities that include a mining-themed play park, a 3-acre events amphitheatre and enhanced sporting and leisure facilities.

Built to passive design, the Visitor Centre will boast Kent’s best EPC rating and BREEAM excellent rating. Low environmental impact is at the heart of the development. Heat and energy will be provided through a biomass CHP energy system and photovoltaic panels. Water will be heated through solar thermal collectors and rain and grey water harvesting will be in operation. The building will operate as a stand-alone development capable of meeting its own energy demands.

Betteshanger Park General Manager, Lorraine Cheesmur and Guy Woodhams, from Project Managers, Marpaul, led tours around the construction site. A site walk along the footprint of the 170m long building pointed out build progress, including the staggering 233 piles that have been driven to a depth of between 36 and 62 metres (the equivalent of a 7-storey building).

Over an informal BBQ after the tour, Betteshanger Sustainable Parks Director, Richard Morsley outlined the vision for the £40 million project, led by the Hadlow Group, which comprises the 250-acre Betteshanger Park and adjacent business park.

Jennifer Fearn, long time Betteshanger member, said “An interesting afternoon meet, topped off with some good burgers! We went to the very first meeting when it was just an idea on paper so it’s wonderful to see the plans progressing. It’s lovely to have a truly green space where people can enjoy outside activities in a safe environment plus the staff are very helpful and friendly too. Thank you.”

Annual membership for Betteshanger Park is £40 an includes free parking for up to two vehicles, discount in the Betteshanger Café and Cycle Hire plus exclusive access to special events throughout the year.

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 3km 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 Betteshanger Business Park. 
Posted on 06/09/2016