A town college could soon be saved as part of a new bid to buy the historic building.

Malvern Hills Arts and Community College has been set up by the people behind the Save Malvern Hills College campaign in an attempt to get much-delayed talks to buy the building back on track.

The new college would offer "a wide syllabus of arts, design, enterprise and lifelong learning options" but would not just focus on the arts according to the group.

The college closed last summer with owners Warwickshire College Group (WCG) saying the site was ‘no longer financially viable’ and has remained empty since.

The Malvern Hills Arts and Community College group is now working with Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC), Worcestershire County Council and the Bransford Trust - and has been supported by the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP) – to secure the money needed to re-open the building in Albert North Road and create a new destination for the arts in Malvern and the wider area.

A special council meeting has been scheduled for next month which will reveal MHDC’s plans and the group is hoping for final decisions on a string of funding bids by the end of July in order to make a formal bid to the current owners WCG.

At the end of last year, MHDC committed to upholding a covenant from 2008 which protects the site and ensures it is only used for education.

Talks between the Bransford Trust, who has been fighting to save the college since it was announced it would be closing, and WCG “hit gridlock” in March with the college owners saying it could not accept the offer put forward by the trust.

Last year, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) at the request of WCG, ruled there was no longer a functional need for the college, but the decision only took the education of 16-to-19-year-olds into account and ignored the range of adult courses that had been offered.

MHDC said the ruling by the ESFA was too narrow and instead said the education covenant would stay in place.

WCG still has the option to contest the decision which could add further delays to the purchase of the building if it goes to court.