MP urges fresh talks in college future row - The Worcester Observer

MP urges fresh talks in college future row

Worcester Editorial 13th Nov, 2021   0

MALVERN’s MP Harriett Baldwin has urged college chiefs to ‘come to the table’ and end the long-running dispute over the future of the town’s college.

The West Worcestershire MP met with Skills Minister Alex Burghart MP to brief him on plans to try to save Malvern Hills College before the site is sold off to property developers.

College chiefs rejected her offer for mediation with prospective owners Bransford Trust however they have now set out their terms of sale in a bid to continue teaching at the site more than a year after they declared it ‘no longer financially viable’.

Malvern Hills District Council placed a covenant on the site insisting teaching is continued on the site and Mrs Baldwin met with the Minister to discuss what steps can be taken to protect this.

Further Education Commissioner Shelagh Legrave and the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s Dr Lorna Pursglove were also in attendance to discuss the decision taken by Warwickshire College Group (WCG) to close down the historic site last year and lay off staff.

Dr Pursglove confirmed the decision to enforce the covenant sits with the District Council.

Mrs Baldwin has worked with the Bransford Trust which has made a bid to buy the site and return teaching as soon as possible.

She urged Warwickshire College Group to come to the table with mediators to find a swift solution after the management rejected the latest bid.

“This was an extremely constructive discussion and I am hopeful the message will be relayed to Warwickshire College Group they should come to the table and find an acceptable solution for all,” she said.

“The community wants to see teaching retained at the historic site, there’s a covenant protecting this and there is a fair bid on the table. I hope common sense will prevail.”

In a statement WCG said: “WCG has been dealing with different community groups and representatives for nine months concerning the sale of the Malvern Hills College site.

“We now feel it is time to clearly set out how the sale of our Malvern Hills College site could take place to the Bransford Trust, which made a new offer in September.

“We have therefore written to the trust setting out our terms, in the hope those involved will carefully consider our latest letter to determine if they feel in a position to purchase and run the college.”


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