A consortium which wants to take over Newton Rigg College said it will not be able to take its bid forward – but said the fight for agricultural education in Cumbria was not over.
Newton Rigg Limited has been working around the clock to put together a bid that would satisfy the Government.
This morning it said in a statement: “Despite enormous efforts from all involved, including the potential college partner who pursued every possible avenue to facilitate Newton Rigg’s future, we now know it will not be possible to finalise a college agreement that would enable our visionary bid to be approved by the FEC.
“This means that, our bid cannot, for now, proceed as planned.
“The liabilities associated with the transfer from Askham Bryan, and the uncertainties regarding the finances, pose too great a risk for a partner college to be expected to bear.
“However, we have prepared for this unfortunate outcome and can confirm that the fight is not over.
“Newton Rigg Ltd are now entirely focused on Plan B.
“We are confident that our investment partners have the will and the funds to purchase the Newton Rigg assets, in a collaborative initiative that would provide an alternative route to securing the future of land-based education, skills training and apprenticeships at Newton Rigg on a meaningful scale, while enabling continued access to the farms for existing students to complete their studies.
“While we can’t confirm solid details yet, we will describe our plans to the community as soon as possible.
“We are confident that we can preserve Newton Rigg for Cumbria and we will work with our many individual, corporate and local industry supporters to make this happen.
“We will also be discussing our Plan B with the FEC, to highlight that an alternative solution for Newton Rigg could be supported by Askham Bryan College as part of their intended disposal of the assets.”