MORE than 100 members of teaching staff are to lose their jobs after one of the North’s leading agricultural colleges announced it will close next year.

Educational provision will no longer be taught at the Newton Rigg campus in Penrith from July 2021, the York-based Askham Bryan College has confirmed.

Newton Rigg College is attended by young farmers and agricultural workers from across Tynedale and throughout the north of England.

Askham Bryan’s governing body announced its decision to close the campus in May and has since concluded a 45-day formal consultation process with Newton Rigg staff and recognised trade unions.

The final decision was made by the governing body at its meeting on Monday.

Around 117 jobs could be lost by the closure, and the University and College Union has previously called the decision a “hammer blow” for the agriculturally dependent local area.

Tim Whitaker, the chief executive officer and principal at Askham Bryan College, said: “We understand the strength of feeling for Newton Rigg.

"This has been a very difficult decision to make and the prospect of future job losses is regrettable.”

He added: “However, we have no other option given the demographic and recruitment challenges and financial losses that we have faced, which we have shared previously.

“We are doing everything we can to support our Newton Rigg staff and students during these challenging times.”

The college is in discussions with education providers in Cumbria for progression opportunities beyond July 2021.