THE college group handling the ongoing closure of Malvern Hills College has hit back at accusations they are not working to secure its future.

WCG, which announced in November its plans to close the college, moved to clarify a number of issues raised by Cllr Beverley Nielsen, chair of the Malvern Hills College SOS Task Group.

A spokesman said: “We would reiterate that the announcement by WCG to cease operations at the Albert Road site in Malvern was taken with the greatest reluctance last November.

"It primarily stems from the Government cuts in adult education funding over the last decade – a point made this week by the FE Commissioner who sadly accepted that such decisions are having to be made across the college sector in an FE Week feature.

“Unfortunately, we have had no meaningful engagement from any of the now vocal individuals since the merger in 2016 until the announcement last November.

"We would have welcomed local and national political support in a more constructive way, and indeed did seek such support.”

The spokesman was responding after Cllr Nielsen announced a meeting had been secured with WCG to discuss a formal offer of £850,000 from Worcestershire Community Foundation.

According to the college group, this meeting is subject to a non-disclosure agreement.

They added: “We will remind Cllr Beverley Nielsen and others later this week that the meeting they requested must be conducted confidentially under the terms of the non-disclosure agreement Cllr Nielsen signed on behalf of the Task Group, and not played out in the media.

“WCG will continue to provide education for young people and adults in Malvern with new provision at the Science Park due to commence in September, including the new Digital Support Services T Level and a range of adult learning classes in IT and cyber security, all of which have been identified as priority skills to be developed to support Malvern businesses.”

The task group announced last week that it had secured the meeting with Angela Joyce, CEO of the college group.

Representatives from the group held the meeting following an £850,000 formal offer by the Worcestershire Community Foundation, and the meeting was said to explore whether a deal could be secured.

A full business plan for a new community business to run the college has also been prepared, according to the task group, which is made up of local councillors, former academics from the college and businesspeople from the region.