CAMPAIGNERS trying to save a college in Malvern say they are "appalled" discussions have broken down over its future.

WCG, which announced back in November 2020 its decision to step away from Malvern Hills College, announced this week that talks with the Bransford Trust over its future had deadlocked.

Colin Kinnear, from the trust, said there had been repeated stumbling blocks in talks throughout.

He said: "WCG has refused to meet for any face to face negotiations with BT (The Bransford Trust) despite repeated requests to the contrary and have repeatedly refused the offer made by Harriet Baldwin MP for mediation.

"Rather they have continued to present a series of non-negotiable positions on a take it or leave it basis, which hardly qualifies as a negotiation.

"The deal has also changed over the course of the last months. Originally the purchaser was going to be Malvern Hills Art and Community College (MHACC), but for various reasons it became clear that BT would be a better buyer as it is a registered charity.

"The conditions currently offered by WCG cannot be accepted by the board of trustees of BT."

The news of talks breaking down comes as a blow to the campaigners in Malvern looking to save the college.

Gemma Wiseman, who leads the Save Malvern Hills College group, said she was "appalled" to hear the news.

She added: "We and the 5,700 people who signed the petition to keep the College urge WCG to do the right thing and to agree to Harriett Baldwin MP’s very sensible and fair offer to appoint mediation for negotiations to continue with urgency so that a resolution can achieved."

Before Christmas, hundreds turned out in Malvern's Priory Park for a vigil ahead of a Malvern Hills District Council meeting.

At that meeting, the council agreed to voted to "respect" the covenant put in place over the college.

This guarantees its educational use until such time as no need is identified for it.

Cllr Beverley Nielsen from the Malvern Hills College SOS Task Group, another of the groups trying to save the college, said it was vital it remains in the town.

She said: "We know there is tremendous support for our further and adult education college and Malvern residents are dismayed at the way this has been handled.

"They want to see this precious and greatly valued institution opened again as soon as possible."