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Outcry over planned closure of a Penrith agricultural college

STAFF at a struggling agricultural college have vowed to fight closure plans which threaten more than 100 jobs.

Newton Rigg College in Penrith, Cumbria, provides vital agricultural training in a county dominated by farming.

But managers told staff on Thursday that the site – a satellite of York-based Askham Bryan agricultural college – is to close in July next year with the loss of 117 jobs.

The University and College Union (UCU) has vowed to resist the closure.

UCU regional official Iain Owens said: “This is a hammer blow for the people of Penrith and Cumbria who rely on Newton Rigg to provide education for their young people.

“The closure would leave Cumbria – one of the most agriculturally dependant counties in the country – without any specialist agricultural education.

“UCU will campaign to protect Newton Rigg College and to protect our members’ jobs.”

Askham Bryan college said a review of the Newton Rigg campus found that it was not financially viable and that staff would be consulted individually.

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