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2020 / 2021 Edition

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End of an era as Kent landmark comes down

SEVERAL hundred local people gathered last Sunday (28 March) to observe the moment when 200 years of cement making at Northfleet Works, in Kent, finally drew to a close.

Through what is believed to have been Europe’s largest demolition project, Lafarge Cement organized a charity competition to find an individual to press the button to demolish the two 550ft site chimneys.

Local resident Annabelle Church, aged five, was the lucky winner of the competition, which raised over £3,500 for the Kent Air Ambulance Trust and local EllenorLions Hospices.

Lynn Hyder, county fundraiser for Kent Air Ambulance, commented: ‘This is probably one of the most unusual ways that we have ever raised funds for the charity and we are grateful to Lafarge for giving us the opportunity.’

Site demolition manager Nigel Rees added: ‘It was an emotional moment to see two centuries of cement making reach an end, but we were delighted to be able to offer Annabelle a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to start the demolition of both chimneys.

‘They have been a long-standing landmark for Northfleet and it is appropriate that their legacy has made a lasting impression for local charities.’

Lafarge have already submitted a planning application to redevelop the Northfleet site for mixed use, including residential, retail and open public spaces.

The company has also submitted a full planning application to Kent County Council for a bulk aggregates import terminal to handle up to 3 million tonnes of aggregates per year by river, road and potentially rail, creating around 100 jobs.

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