Major Agri-Tech and Food Innovation Centre proposed for The Bath & West Showground, near Shepton Mallet
The Royal Bath & West Society has announced that it has approved further feasibility into establishing a unique Agri-Tech & Food Innovation Centre on The Showground where the thread of learning from primary school, to careers in land-based industries, to industry-led research & development right through to the establishment of a commercial test kitchen to support the business development of aspiring food & drink manufacturing businesses.
This project dovetails with national and local Governments’ aspirations to promote local food and drink more effectively, and follows DEFRA’s decision to grant The Showground “Food Enterprise Zone” status. The announcement links well with the new improvements to the layout of the Royal Bath & West Show in 2016 that has a much greater emphasis on quality local food with the formation of a new “Bath & West Food & Drink” area at the heart of the Show.
Chief Executive, Rupert Cox said
“ This project takes the Society back to its original purpose of encouraging excellence and innovation in agricultural and other land-based industries. I am keen that we challenge the Government to support us in delivering a food enterprise zone that provides the opportunities for young people to access quality employment in land-based businesses and support food & drink manufacturing businesses to obtain national and international reach”
The Society said that while the plans are at an advanced conceptual stage more work needs to be done. As well as funding the Society are seeking delivery partners and an anchor tenant to manage the Innovation Centre which it hopes will be operational during 2017. The first phase of the Showground redevelopment has already commenced and will see a new Mendip school established on the extensive grounds that lie just to the south of Shepton Mallet, in Mendip district.
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