CML, the joint venture partnership between Countryside Properties and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), is sponsoring the programme to train the next generation of Kent bricklayers and other key building trades. Designed to provide on the job experience alongside attending Mid-Kent College’s Building Crafts Department, the course offers an ideal apprenticeship into the building trade. Over the past few decades, the number of bricklayers in the UK has rapidly declined despite the increase in the number of new homes being built each year.
More than 100 residents from Betteshanger, Northbourne and Sholden Parishes were welcomed to a public meeting organised by the Betteshanger Regeneration Team to discuss the regeneration strategy proposals for the former colliery and tip. In August 2001, residents raised particular issues with SEEDA they wished to see addressed in the regeneration strategy. The proposals presented at the latest meeting now take into account local community requests for traffic to be diverted away from houses along a new road.
The road, with cycle and footpaths alongside, would be created from the disused railway line, which links the former colliery site and the tip. Views across the site would be improved with extensive new landscaping, designed to enhance the existing environment and provide new park and play facilities, whilst ensuring that car parking is discreet and local wildlife is protected. Senior Regeneration Manager at SEEDA, Chris Moore, said: “SEEDA plans to help the local people turn the derelict colliery and tip site into a new centre for employment, community and parkland.