THE NFU has signed a 250-year lease for its new headquarters at Stoneleigh Park – home of the Royal Show – after getting planning permission for a new building.

Planning permission has been granted for the two storey, 2,300 square metre building which will cover 1.6ha (4 acres) of the Warwickshire showground.

The building has been designed to be energy efficient, environmentally friendly and British materials will be used where possible.

NFU President, Tim Bennett, said: “The new building is central to our ethos at the NFU.

“Farming needs to move with the times; we need to be forward-thinking business people and a new modern headquarters in the centre of the country is a crucial step in our plans.”

Mr Bennett said the union would keep strong links with London in its parliamentary, lobbying and communications work.

“But when it comes to talking to members and being close to the other major players in the agricultural industry, Stoneleigh is the best position for us.”

The NFU building will be the first on the proposed 19ha (46 acres) rural innovation park, which is to be developed by the Royal Agricultural Society of England.

Building work will start in late October and the NFU is expected to move in autumn 2005.