Planning permission has been granted for a £40m sustainable business park in Kent – the first of its kind in the UK. The business park will be set on the Betteshanger Colliery, a 121 hectare plot, and will be a hub for sustainable businesses, education, research and development and eco-tourism.
The construction project is part of the first phase in a £121m scheme to regenerate the area which is a particularly deprived part of the country. This phase is expected to be completed in spring of 2016 and will comprise of a sustainable energy visitor centre and a country park. Phase 2 will comprise of an education and enterprise complex being built, as well as an extension to the country park and its facilities. Phase 2 is yet to receive planning consent.
Procurement specialists Scape selected Willmott Dixon to deliver pre-construction works prior to delivering the rest of the project’s first phase.
By linking green technology innovation with tourism and business, the new scheme is expected to attract investors for business start-ups and is set to drive economic growth through the creation of up to 1100 new jobs and 500 traineeships.
Group Chief Executive of Scape, Mark Robinson, said: “This flagship project looks set to be a huge boost for the local economy and can become a model for other areas in the country which have been adversely affected by traditional industries moving away. Through creative thinking and hard work, Betteshanger can move boldly into the 21st century, making a more positive impact on the environment.”