A company fighting to save Newton Rigg College from closure is calling on Government to halt the sales of land and assets.

Newton Rigg Ltd, formed by members of the Cumbrian community along with experts in land-based education and industry, has reported that its fight to save the college has intensified recently, with ‘significant steps’ taken to secure its future.

The group said it has been in discussions with a major college group that is keen to facilitate Newton Rigg Ltd’s proposals, creating a ‘genuine opportunity’ to save the college.

Given this development, Newton Rigg Ltd has directly requested that the Government take action to prevent any sale of Newton Rigg land and assets while conversations continue and, in any event, until the end of February 2021.

Andrew Cobb, chairman of Newton Rigg Ltd, made the following statement on Christmas Eve: “On 18th December, the Further Education Commissioner informed us that the main reason our bid was rejected was because we had, in the very short timeframe of the Strategic Review process, been unable to finalise an agreement with a partner college that would facilitate the transition of provision at Newton Rigg College from Askham Bryan’s ownership.

“However, we have since been engaged in fast-paced discussions with a significant college group who are actively exploring ways they will facilitate our proposals for the Newton Rigg College, with a shared commitment to the future of our community. We are working towards a supportive relationship, not another merger. This will enable a seamless transition with the aim of eventually establishing Newton Rigg College as an independent institution in its own right. We are confident that an agreement will be concluded soon after our meetings resume at the start of January 2021.

READ MORE: Cumbrian community forms company in bid to save Newton Rigg College

“Consequently, we have written to the Further Education Commissioner and Dr Neil Hudson MP to outline this critical development and formally request that Askham Bryan College be prevented from selling any Newton Rigg land or assets while conversations continue and, in any event, not before the end of February 2021. 

“The overriding purpose of the Government’s Strategic Review was to promote and facilitate a stable and secure future for Further Education at Newton Rigg College; to prevent the stripping of educational assets from Cumbria and preserve the public benefit to our communities through education. For that reason, we hope that the Government will embrace this genuine opportunity to prevent Newton Rigg’s closure and that they will take immediate action to prevent Askham Bryan College from moving forward with any sales of property or assets. 

“We welcome Neil Hudson MP’s hard work and genuine commitment to saving Newton Rigg College and will be calling on all local MPs to support us in our request. 

“We would like to again express our thanks to the community and the very committed staff at Newton Rigg College who continue to excel themselves throughout this immensely difficult time. We would like to again reassure our community that this fight is not over.”

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