May 22 2013 Latest news:
By John Elworthy
Saturday, March 23, 2013
FENLAND has become the first part of Britain to submit a bid to create an agri-tech centre, funding for such schemes only having been announced in last week’s Budget.
David Willetts, the Minister for Universities and Science, congratulated NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay “on being the first to bid for some of that funding.”
Mr Willetts told the MP, during a Parliamentary question and answer session on Thursday, that the Fenland bid “will be considered carefully and we will set out our plans in our agri-tech strategy.”
Fenland District Council has identified a brown field site next to Wisbech Port where such a centre could be built and Mr Willetts has now agreed to see Mr Barclay and a delegation of councillors to move it forward.
“I understand the significance of the wider strategy for your area,” he told Mr Barclay. “East Anglia is one of our national leaders in agri-tech and agri-science, with excellent research institutes across the area.”
Mr Barclay had previously described such an agri-tech centre as “an ideal anchor tenant for the Wisbech 2020 regeneration scheme. It would also fit well with the new £12 million engineering faculty at the College of West Anglia Wisbech campus.”
Wisbech, believes Mr Barclay, is “the perfect location for scientists to be based when conducting field trials”.
During the Parliamentary debate Mr Barclay praised the “excellent work” done by Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman in helping with the proposals. Mr Freeman is the Prime Minister’s adviser on life sciences.