Research centre in jobs boost

More than a million pounds is set to be spent on renovating a farming industry research centre in Soham, creating 77 new jobs and 15 apprenticeships, as well as securing 148 existing jobs.

A total investment of £1.76million over the next three years is planned for the Agri Gate Research Hub, to be based at Hasse Fen and provide agricultural and technological information to farmers and other businesses.

A £500,000 investment from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership will be used to renovate a building to create a research facility for improving production efficiency and reducing food waste.

The centre, which will be run by the National Institute for Agricultural Botany (NIAB), will be used by farmers, food businesses, schools and colleges.

Grahame Nix, chief executive of the partnership, said: “The hub will enable research work to be undertaken from seedbed preparation level right the way through harvesting to final packaging and processing. These advances will help to secure the technology of the future that will undoubtedly benefit our local agricultural community.”

Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council and Soham county councillor, James Palmer, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity, particularly the apprenticeships. What an exciting thing if you are a young person in Soham to be able 
to come to a world-class facility.”

Soham Town Council leader Chris Palmer added: “I’m really pleased for Soham that it can generate organisations like NIAB to come here.”

Work on the project is start in July and should be 
completed before the end of the year.