Planning approval for spa hotel and surf lagoon at Betteshanger country park is a win for nature, tourism, job creation and provides a sustainable future for the park

Dover District Council’s Planning Committee last night (7 Mar) approved plans that will secure the future of Betteshanger Country Park, transform the district as a tourism and leisure destination, deliver opportunities for jobs and millions in investment while protecting and enhancing nature on the former colliery site.

Councillors backed two revised planning applications: the first for a new hotel and spa submitted by Betteshanger Country Park and the second for a world class surf lagoon by The Seahive. The hotel and spa and surf lagoon will take up less than 10% of the 231-acre park.

This investment will give the park and all its wildlife a safe and financially sustainable future. It will play a key part in delivering Wild Betteshanger which includes a fully funded management plan for the park’s wildlife for the very first time, including safeguarding areas away from human disturbance for nature to thrive. It will also help fund a dedicated wildlife warden and the expansion of our highly valued schools’ programme.

Ben Geering, Head of Planning for Betteshanger Country Park, said: “This decision is a win for nature and a win for the community. It honours Kent’s mining heritage by securing Betteshanger Park’s future and will boost the district’s economy. By supporting the applications this decision has helped us to save the park for future generations.

“Our vision, as it always has been, is to create a country park that provides for everyone in the community while creating hundreds of jobs and transforming Betteshanger into a world class tourism destination – and that is what we intend to deliver.”

Jim Storey, founder of The Seahive said “In the years that followed the closure of the former mine, the vision for this former spoil tip was for it to be used to encourage regeneration, employment, ecology, heritage, education, and community benefit. Today’s decision marks a turning point for the future of the park, the ecology within it and the health and wellbeing benefits it can provide for the local community – something that I am passionate about.  This will be a world-class destination which puts Kent on the global map. It will not just create jobs and drive inward investment but will also have a material impact on people’s physical and mental wellbeing at a point in time where it has never been more important”.

The development of the Spa Hotel and The Seahive will not only create much needed jobs for the district, but it will also help address the low percentage of overnight stays largely driven by limited availability of hotel accommodation locally.

Ben Geering said “Having a high-quality hotel in the area will help the district to attract more investment to the wider area. The Open is a perfect example of this, however it’s about much more than time-limited events, it’s about providing a spa-hotel locally that will encourage people to visit and spend more time and money in our beautiful local towns and villages.”

Management of the park is currently causing its owners a loss of over £1,000 per day. This planning decision will mean vital revenue streams can be delivered to keep the park open and further protect nature. This includes 9.1 acres of existing farmland that will be added to the park. This land will be used specifically to create new habitat for Turtle Doves, along with a further 15 acres of off-site land at Hammill Fields. A dedicated wildlife warden will also be responsible for overseeing the management and protection of wildlife at Betteshanger Country Park.

Stay up-to-date with us

Contact Us

Sign up for the latest news and updates from Locate in Kent