Plymouth reprieves farming campus

May 16, 2003

The University of Plymouth has agreed to continue teaching at its famous Seale-Hayne farmland campus after months of protest over the threatened closure of the agricultural centre of excellence.

The university has announced that although it will relocate its undergraduates from the rural campus to a city-centre site in Plymouth as planned, it will reposition Seale-Hayne as a rural business incubator and a training and research facility.

"The exciting plans will ensure the future of the historic college site," the university said.

Vice-chancellor Roland Levinsky prompted a storm of protest last November when he announced plans to relocate a number of faculties to expanded facilities in Plymouth.

Governors approved plans in December to relocate Seale-Hayne undergraduate courses - which include agriculture; land and countryside management; animal sciences; and hospitality and tourism - from the working farm site to the city.

The plans prompted a massive campaign by students, local councillors and the national farming industry, which said the plans would be a disastrous loss to the rural economy.

The university said it would build on the reputation of Seale-Hayne by turning it into "the national education and business incubator centre for the rural economy".

The university will seek a national centre of excellence status for Seale-Hayne, "to ensure that it will continue to benefit students and the regional economy with a more complete package of leadership, training and business support".

It said that the plans would "ensure that studentsI will be retained in the Southwest".

Jim Hosking, chairman of pressure group Seale-Hayne Future, said: "We look forward to seeing the detail of the proposals and to being assured that the college will remain a centre of excellence as well as providing support for regional business."

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