Education provision must be maintained on college site says Leader
Steps are being taken by Malvern Hills District Council to make sure training and education provision continues at the Malvern Hills College site.
Warwickshire College Group (WCG) announced in November 2020 it would cease operations at its site on Albert Road North in Summer 2021.
A taskforce including district councillors Beverley Nielsen and Tom Wells continues to work with WCG to try and persuade them to reverse their decision as well as look at alternative providers.
A letter has been sent from the council to the Education and Skills Funding Agency asking them to support the provision of further education and skills training on the site.
The council points out the town is set to see significant growth in the 16 plus population over the next decade while further education provision has been reduced.
The current narrow further education offering in the town and the Government's own plans for upskilling the nation as part of a post-pandemic recovery are also given as reasons for retaining the college, as well as the difficulty students will have getting to alternative sites outside of the town.
A covenant also exists on the land preventing it from being sold for alternative purposes to education and training and the council has made it clear it intends to use this to support its case.
An application from Malvern Town Council has also been accepted to designate the college as an Asset of Community Value, meaning if an attempt is made to sell it, the community will have six months to make an offer for it first.
Cllr Sarah Rouse, Leader of Malvern Hills District Council, said: "We understand the pressure WCG is under as a result of the impact of the pandemic and we want to continue to work with them constructively, as well as talk to other partners, to try and find a solution.
"But, we are not prepared to accept there is no longer a functional need for a college in Malvern. With growing demand in the near future, the current offering needs to be significantly improved. Allowing Malvern Hills College to be sold for alternative uses would be a missed opportunity and potentially very damaging to our residents, the future of our young people and our local economy."