The future of farming in Lincolnshire is “under threat” by plans to redevelop the University of Lincoln’s Riseholme campus, according to a local trust – a view disputed by the university.
The £20 million masterplan was revealed back in March, with the university stating the development would put the county at the “forefront of the agri-tech revolution”.
But the Lincoln Farm Trust panel, made up of Lincolnshire farmers, has said the plans to demolish parts of the current Riseholme College campus and build 750 new homes at the park north of Lincoln would ‘lose future generations of farmers’.
The university has put the Lodge Farm in Nettleham up for sale for £4.6 million.
Plans to submit an application for new housing on the separate Riseholme site will be lodged soon.
Chairman of the panel Charles Dobson said: “Agricultural further education in Lincolnshire is essential. It is essential for the county and the agricultural industry in general.
“It would be a disaster if these plans were allowed to go ahead.”
“The trust exists to protect the assets for further education in agriculture. The university say that the panel doesn’t exit – they refer to us as ‘the alleged panel’.
“But the Skills Funding Agency is very much on our side and this could go to court. We have this asset and we must not lose it.”
The panel claims it is contesting the university’s legally binding agreement known as a ‘Trust Deed’, requiring the provision of land-based further education on the site.
The Skills Funding Agency is said to have a similar agreement in place.
Current tenant on the site Riseholme College, and its principal Jeanette Dawson previously contested the plans and the loss of the on-site farm.
The university, which owns the land and building, is planning to construct agriculture, research, science, heritage and sports facilities to secure the future of the site as a heritage asset and grow its specialisms in the agri-food technology industry.
Elly Sample, Director of Communications at the University of Lincoln, said: “The university has set out proposals to make a multi- million pound investment in agri-tech, science, heritage and sports facilities at our Riseholme Campus.
“This is detailed in our campus masterplan, which has been shared with the public and consulted on.
“Supporting Lincolnshire’s agricultural community through higher education and research goes to the core of our vision for Riseholme.
“We would encourage anyone interested in our intentions to talk to us directly.”
The university also noted that no legal proceedings have been issued against them and stated Lodge Farm, which is farmed under contract, is not connected to Riseholme Campus.