Delamore submits plans for horticultural training centre as expansion continues at Wisbech St Mary

The parking area which will house the new classroom block.

The parking area which will house the new classroom block. - Credit: Archant

PLANS have been submitted for a training centre which would help one of Fenland’s biggest employers pass on their horticultural skills to the next generation.

Delamore Young Plants wants to build a single-storey classroom block at its depot in Station Road, Wisbech St Mary.

The company, which employs 230 staff, has joined forces with Fenland District Council and the College of West Anglia for the development, which was announced as part of the Wisbech 2020 regeneration plan.

Delamore, which has traded in the Fens for 50 years, is hoping to expand operations at Wisbech St Mary by 75 per cent over the next five years - doubling staff numbers.

It won planning permission for an expansion of up to 42 acres of greenhouse, which is being implemented in phases, in 2004.

The company runs a three-year horticultural apprenticeship scheme for young workers and training will be facilitated from the new building.

Existing staff will also be trained in the classroom to “offer the chance of enhancement of skills and abilities in a dynamic expanding company”.

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In a design and access statement submitted to the council as part of the planning application, Delamore said it was “committed to the advancement of the understanding of horticulture in the local economy”.

It plans to offer training and awareness courses to schools through the Fenland 14-19 partnership programme.

The proposals comprise a “single classroom and associated support areas” as well as new signage.

Delamore hopes to build the centre on an overflow car-park area in front of their existing training facilities.

Wayne Eady, managing director, said last year that the horticultural college would “build some security into the workforce of Delamore”.

A decision is expected on the proposals next month.