A 40-year-lease has been signed for the Shuttleworth College by The Bedford College Group - securing the future of farming education for the next generation.
Shuttleworth College was founded in 1946 and was merged with Bedford College in 2009, helping to broaden and bring up to date the education and training on offer at the Bedfordshire 500-acre country park. The grounds now host students from around the world and closer to home, who undertake land-based training in agriculture, the environment, animal sciences and outdoor adventure activities up to Higher Education degree level.
Signing the lease on the grounds and college buildings will unleash £5 Million worth of investment by The Bedford College Group into the educational facilities.
Already a new learning resource facility has been unveiled and cattle accommodation restored at the Kingshill Farm. Halls of residence (for overseas and long-distance students) have been upgraded and that area of provision was highlighted as Good with OUTSTANDING features by the most recent OFSTED inspection.
Planning permission has already been granted to build a new Animal Management Centre which is planned to open in 2019.
Ian Pryce CBE, Principal and CEO of The Bedford College Group, which now includes Tresham College in Northamptonshire and The Bedford Sixth Form College, said:
"When we acquired Shuttleworth College in 2009 we had a ten year lease that meant we could not take the financial risk of improving the facilities. The Trust has a wider set of objectives that go beyond supporting land-based education and their activities use the same estate, so developing a long term agreement has not been straightforward. Fortunately for us the Trust has recognised this and has worked patiently and constructively to make sure we reached an agreement that allows both parties to develop all the activities over the long term.
I would particularly like to pay tribute to the Trust Chair Edmund Wood for the time he has devoted to getting the detail right and coming up with creative ways round some of the obstacles we faced. This is an agreement that is good for both the Trust and the College, and great for the local farming community and our future students."