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Brachers advises the East Malling Trust on involvement in pioneering development of high-tech plant growing facilities

7th July 2021

Kent-based law firm Brachers has advised the East Malling Trust on their involvement in an innovative new development, led by NIAB, to create high-tech plant growing facilities.

The East Malling Trust, whose origins date back to 1913, is the leading private funder of horticultural research in the UK. NIAB is a charity focused on strategic research, development and innovation in agriculture and horticulture.

The development of new growing facilities includes a number of glasshouses and growth rooms, the use of which has increased within the horticulture and agriculture sectors as the sustainability agenda gains traction. The glasshouses will be used by the scientists to improve industry profitability by developing new varieties and improving plant health and resistance to disease, by undertaking trials in crop production, breeding, pathology, entomology and plant health

The East Malling Trust have contributed significant grant funding for the project, with NIAB receiving further funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership ‘Local Growth Fund’ and from a UK Research and Innovation ‘Strength in Places’ Fund.   Securing this highly competitive grant reflects the excellence and importance of their work. The new growing facilities will be located at the East Malling Trust site, which NIAB currently occupy part of.

Brachers advised the East Malling Trust in its dual capacity as both landlord and a grant funder for the project. This required the Brachers’ team, jointly led by Commercial Property Partner Emma Andersen and Commercial Partner Alex Cosgrove, to coordinate its advice across multiple teams and a range of legal disciplines.  As part of its advice, Brachers prepared a bespoke funding arrangement that dovetailed the Trust’s funding terms with those of the other grant funding bodies, drafted the leasing terms for NIAB’s occupation of the site, and advised the Trust on all relevant construction-related matters.

Emma Andersen said: “The East Malling Trust are a long standing client of Brachers and we are pleased that we have been able to support them in enabling this state-of-the-art project to progress. The Trust is renowned for their investment in pioneering projects and this development with NIAB is an exciting step forward in their commitment to delivering world-class science.”

Sally Flanagan, Executive Director at East Malling Trust, said: “Brachers has been a trusted advisor for a number of years, and we are grateful for their help and advice in agreeing this important development. This was a challenging project requiring expertise in several disciplines. We were delighted by the support given to us by Alex and the Commercial/Construction team, whose collaborative approach with Emma and her team ensured an efficient process and positive outcome for us and NIAB.”

Brachers has previously advised East Malling Trust on a number of matters, including the sale of a 16-acre plot at the beginning of the year, as part of its strategy to fund the delivery of the first phase of its campus redevelopment.

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