Research site saved?

Minister gives hope to East Malling

New hope has been given to one of Horticulture Research International’s sites with the development of a plan for an independent research operation by the East Malling Trust for Horticultural Research. The five-year plan for the independent research operation was submitted by the trust to Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs minister Lord Whitty early in September. The trust has now received positive feedback from the minister. A DEFRA spokesman said: “We are confident the business plan provides a realistic basis for continuing negotiations on the future of East Malling. Subject to some outstanding issues, we are seeking to conclude an agreement with the trust very shortly.” HRI will remain responsible for the East Malling site until 31 March 2004 but the trustees have established a shadow board of directors to guide the new organisation. The trust anticipates a final decision on the East Malling site will be made towards the end of October.

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