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Vision for Higher Newham Farm and Village

Thursday, 18 September, 2014 - 10:15

Vision for Higher Newham Farm and Village unveiled as plans are submitted to Cornwall Council.

This is the vision for a national exemplar community that celebrates the journey of food from farm to fork, as partners behind Higher Newham Farm & Village submit their plans to Cornwall Council’s planning department.

Following a year of conversations and three months of wider public feedback, the planning application for the Higher Newham Farm and Village project has been submitted, including an updated Masterplan, and more detailed images of proposed homes, community and farm buildings.

The plans were made public via the Council’s website and the partnership behind the project – Duchy College, Cornwall Food Foundation and Living Villages is urging people to take a look and to comment.

Should the project gain planning permission, Higher Newham Farm would become one of the largest community farms in the UK, with around 70 acres gifted to a new charitable trust and run by Duchy College as an educational facility. The partners believe the project will positively impact people in Truro, across Cornwall and beyond. It will become a flagship project for combining food, farming and housing within one community.

Vicky Garner, project co-ordinator, said: “It’s been a busy few months behind the scenes as we gather as much feedback as we can around the proposals. We’ve been talking to schools and education providers, voluntary sector organisations and community groups and these discussions have helped shape our evolving plans.

“The plans have now been submitted and if all goes smoothly they should go before the Strategic Planning Committee later this autumn. As soon as the plans go up on Cornwall Council’s planning website we hope those who share our vision for Higher Newham Farm & Village will write or email  Cornwall Council’s planning department, or their local planning councillor in support of the plans. We hope anyone who has questions or ideas will get in touch with us direct.”

Dr Phil Le Grice, Head of Rural Economy at Duchy College said: “We are delighted to be a part of the project at Higher Newham.  Community farms such as this are brilliant vehicles to deliver real hands on experiences to the people who live around them, focussing on the plough to plate message and hopefully encouraging some young people to consider agriculture as a career.

“The farming industry has warned of a skills shortage if the 60,000 new entrants we need in the next decade are not found.  The ethos at Duchy College is about making learning work - delivering young people with the right skills and experiences to help them progress in their chosen careers and Higher Newham is a fantastic location to deliver this.”

Matthew Thomson, chief executive of Cornwall Food Foundation, added: “The Higher Newham Farm and Village project offers us a unique opportunity to work with people and food to improve the economy, environment and health of Cornwall.

“The restaurant and cook school we hope to run here will link directly with community farm-based agricultural and horticultural training and give us a brilliant platform to try things no-one’s done before.  After working for months in partnership to firm up the plans, this is a really exciting moment.”

Proposals were announced in May for Higher Newham Farm & Village to create an agricultural education centre run by Duchy College offering land-based training and entry level courses aimed at people aged 16 and above. A charity-owned restaurant and cook school based within refurbished, existing farm buildings on the site would be run by the charity Cornwall Food Foundation.

The project would include a community of 155 houses, at least 30% affordable, and a major part of the proposal involves gifting 80% of the 92-acre site to the community of Truro, to be overseen by a charitable trust and be protected from any further development through covenants on the land.

The partnership has developed a Friends of Higher Newham network that interested parties can join and keep up to date with project proposals.

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