Select Committee on Agriculture Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Stockbridge Technology Centre (D 31)

  Your committee will be aware of the HRI reorganisation and their plans to withdraw from Stockbridge House. The Rt Hon Ms Joyce Quin, The Minister of State for MAFF confirmed to Parliament on 6 November that MAFF would sell the site.

  The team and facilities at Stockbridge are considered by our industry to be too valuable to lose. We are also concerned that the future delivery of science to our industry cannot be left to infighting between MAFF officials and an NDPB that doesn't seem to be working. As a result we are progressing rapidly to buy Stockbridge for our industry and to set up a centre of excellence for technology development and transfer for horticulture and agriculture.

  We have attached our aims and organisational objectives for your information.

  We hope this new private company can work with the Government departments and NDPB's in a constructive Government/private partnership.

  We would welcome your support for this initiative.

28 November 2000


  To develop and transfer to growers and farmers technologies which enable them to maximise yield of quality safe crops for British consumers and industries.

The Board of Stockbridge Land Ltd/Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd

  The two company Boards are responsible for the two company strategies and legal responsibilities elected by the various sector interest groups as follows:

Staff 1 Director
Retailers1 Director
Pesticide/Fertiliser Companies 1 Director
Seed Companies 1 Director
Academia/Others 2 Directors
Hardy Nurseries 1 Director
Soft Fruit1 Director
Protected Edibles 2 Directors
Flowers/Plants/Bedding 2 Directors
Outdoor Veg2 Directors
Other farmers/growers 1 Director

  The staff Director will be re-elected every three years. Two industry/academia Directors will retire by rotation each year. Three grower/farmer Directors will retire by rotation each year. All Directors must retire after two terms of service on the Board but can be re-elected after a break of three years.

  Each Board elects its own Chairman each year at first meeting after AGM. The Chairman must retire after six years consecutive appointment but can be re-elected after a break of three years.


  The Executive Board of Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd is responsible for day to day running of the Operating Company. It will be made up of:

    —  Chairman of Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd

    —  Chief Executive

    —  Head of Plant Pathology

    —  Head of Agronomy

    —  Head of Entomology

    —  Company Secretary (Office Manager)


  We will have three divisions in Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd led by senior scientific staff especially recruited for their skills in customer relationships.

  Plant Pathology. This division will work with the full range of diseases testing both pesticides and developing novel methods of disease control. The staff will be in qualified GLP procedures, official recognition by PSD and be able to take pesticides to MAFF/PSD registration for clients.

  Entomology. The division will work with insects and nematodes testing both pesticides, predators and other novel approaches. This division will run the diagnostic clinic for growers/farmers.

  Agronomy. This division will look at crop agronomy including variety fertiliser, crop covers and organic cultivation. The division will also mange the crops on the site with help of farm and packhouse managers. The centre is registered for arable and Assured Produce Schemes.

  We shall carry out our own work to lead the industry and also accept projects from all sectors of the industry and research sponsors. Consultancy and training commissions will also be targeted.

  We will liase with other academic institutions and groups servicing horticulture/agriculture so as to ensure our services are complementary to the activities of others delivering technology to growers/farmers.

  Our aim is excellence and value.


  The site is close to the village of Cawood, being some 10 miles from the A1 (A1M)/M62 trunk roads giving good access from all of the UK.

  We have several meeting rooms with full meeting facilities and staff experience in organising open days, this is coupled with in house catering. We can organise specific client days, general conferences, both indoor and outdoor. We can act as the secretariat of industry groups.

  The diagnostic clinic is open for visits and personal advice or postal service. We can run training courses run by our experts including offsite or in house sessions if required.


  We have 185 acres of Grade 1 Vale of York Loam all irrigated. Fields have shelter and we have highly experienced staff for laying out trials with randomisation of plots as required. This land is suitable for cropping with vegetables, potatoes, soft fruit and arable crops.

  The glasshouses are approximately two acres but divided into 50 separate units each of which has independent computerised control. The houses range from a 4.2m multi factorial unit through normal venlo and some polythene tunnels. This gives a range of size and type for all types of cropping.

  We have staff experienced in growing all glasshouse edible crops, flowers for seed and bedding. They are expert in crop training and commercial crop management.

  A central packhouse can grade all crops to ensure commercial assessment of yield is always obtained. There are cold storage facilities.

  Our laboratories are equipped with the latest equipment for observation, breeding and storage of specimens. We have staff trained in GLP procedures, BASIS qualified and familiar with diagnostic techniques.

  We will build or develop specialist facilities with our project contractors if these are required.

  These facilities enable our staff to deliver our mission statement to our customers within our aim of excellence at all times.


  We will have two companies:

    (1)  Stockbridge Land Ltd. This will own and manage the property. It will be required to offer, as a priority, facilities for Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd and develop their estate to facilitate the maximisation of Stockbridge Technology Centre business based on commercial rent.

    (2)  Stockbridge Technology Centre Ltd. This will run the technology business and be managed by the Executive Board.

  It is envisaged the Boards will be common to both companies but the Chairman may be different.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 31 January 2001