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Planning permission given for Business centre on former Betteshanger colliery

A centre for small and medium-sized healthcare businesses is expected to create 700 jobs by 2020 after it was given planning permission on a former mining site.

The 2,500 sqm building is the latest phase of plans to transform the former Betteshanger Colliery near Deal, where construction of a mining museum and visitor centre is already underway.

The three-storey block, to be known as the Preventative Health Enterprise Incubation Hub, will be home to firms working in health research, sports, healthy food production and natural medicine.

It will particularly aim to attract commercial enterprises combatting obesity and Alzheimer’s.

The site is due to open by January 2019 and is expected to cost about £4.2 million.

Its developer Hadlow Group, which runs a network of colleges across Kent, is close to announcing £2 million of funding for the site from the European Structural and Investment Funds.

It forms part of its £40 million vision for the old colliery known as the Betteshanger Sustainable Parks project, which will see the 121-hectare site transformed into a country park, tourist attraction and business estate.

Dover District Council’s planning committee commented on the quality of the architecture when it approved the business centre proposals at the end of July.

Richard Morsley, director of Betteshanger Sustainable Parks, said: “This marks an exciting first step for the development of the business park at Betteshanger and is a key part of the wider masterplan which will see the creation of a cluster of commercial and educational facilities on the brownfield site.”

Betteshanger was the last Kent coal mine to close in 1989, having been open since the 1920s.

Hadlow College bought the site in 2013 and launched its vision later that year, which it said would create more than 1,000 jobs.

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/deal/news/green-future-for-coalfield-regeneration-26190/

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