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Student’s prize-winning assignment praised by industry expert

Posted 28 June 2021

“It was nice to be rewarded for something I put hard work into. I have really enjoyed my course for the past two years, its variety and relevance to the rural environment is something I really love - alongside its practical nature, as it can be applied to real life scenarios.”

A young woman in a warm coat and wooly hat stands at the top of a mountain.

A student from the Lake District is this year’s winner of the Acorus prize at Harper Adams University – and has won praise from an industry expert for her work.

The prize is given to the winning student assignment in a land and property module covering rural planning and development. It is judged by Harper Adams alumnus Anthony Atkinson, Rural Planning Director at Acorus Rural Property Services, who selected this year’s winner as Ella Mounsey.

Ella is a second year BSc (Hons) Rural Enterprise and Land Management student from near Kendal in Cumbria. She said: “It was nice to be rewarded for something I put hard work into.

“I have really enjoyed my course for the past two years, its variety and relevance to the rural environment is something I really love - alongside its practical nature, as it can be applied to real life scenarios.”

Ella’s study examined the planning application process, how local and national planning policies - and various third parties – can impact the decision-making process, and the implications each can have on landowners and stakeholders.

Her analysis of the effectiveness of the current planning system – which she undertook through researching a case study application and watching a local planning committee meeting as a virtual attendee - was cited as ‘very comprehensive’ by Mr Atkinson – and has secured her the £150 Acorus prize.

Mr Atkison added: “Acorus are pleased to support Harper Adams and the ‘planning prize'.  

“A review of the assignments always indicates a high level of knowledge and interest in the subject by the students.  As a former REALM student, I am always delighted to visit Harper and see how the institution continues to serve agriculture and the rural sector.”

The prize has helped mark two years of study at Harper Adams for Ella, who describes coming to the university as ‘the best decision.’

She said: “I think I was initially drawn to study REALM as I knew I wanted a job role in the rural sector and the course offered modules that varied from business to valuation, which really appealed to me.

“Having done work experience with a local land agent firm before making my decision, this really reiterated that I would enjoy the course - as the varied nature of the job and the out of office aspect was something I really enjoyed.

“The course, is hard, but interesting. Having knowledgeable and passionate lecturers, who have had practical experience in the sector themselves, I think really helps. I also liked the fact that Harper offered the opportunity to go on a placement in your third year to really experience practically all that you have learnt in your first two years.

“I tell everyone who’s contemplating going to Harper that’s it’s the best decision they will make! I grew up in the Lake District and when choosing courses and universities I knew I didn’t want to be in a city.

“After hearing great things from friends at Harper at home, I attended an open day and knew instantly it was where I was going to go. Campus was amazing, with the lecture theatres being so close to the farm, and everyone was so friendly – the atmosphere just felt right.”

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