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Sheppard Robson to transform colliery site into eco-park

Sheppard Robson has revealed images of a £40 million scheme to regenerate a disused colliery site in Kent

The practice’s 1.2 million m² masterplan for the Betteshanger Colliery in East Kent includes a country park and a business campus.

The country park includes an eco-visitor centre showcasing ‘mining heritage and sustainable energy production’. The buildings will be constructed using a cross-laminated timber structure and timber cladding, and will utilise natural ventilation, solar control and rainwater harvesting.

The visitor centre will also contain a biomass CHP energy centre, where visitors will be able to see coppiced wood harvested from the park turned into woodchip and used to heat the park’s buildings.

Built on brownfield land, the project ‘celebrates a significant aspect of the local and regional heritage, reusing the colliery site as a centre to showcase renewable energy generation.’

Tim Evans, creative director at Sheppard Robson said: ‘Just as Betteshanger Sustainable Parks promotes a symbiotic relationship between education and commerce, so too the architectural vision and the business proposal informed each other. Working closely with Hadlow College, local stakeholders and socioeconomic advisors, our designs revealed new opportunities to realise the aspiration of an exemplar sustainable demonstration project which is also self-sustaining and commercially viable.’

Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, commented on the scheme: ‘This is a real victory for the hard work of so many who have fought so hard to make this project happen. The £40 million scheme is backed by £11 million public sector investment (of which £6million is confirmed) and £29 million support from private investors (in principal subject to planning) with further opportunities for investors to get involved.’

Work on the site is expected to begin in 2014.

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