West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has asked for the Department for Education to confirm that a covenant can be enforced to preserve teaching at Malvern Hills College to prevent the site being sold off to property developers.
Harriett raised local concerns about the closure of the college in a debate in the House of Commons yesterday (November 15).
The MP also met with Skills Minister Alex Burghart MP to discuss the campaign to save the historic teaching site and she briefed him on the covenant put in place by Malvern Hills District Council some years ago which requires that further higher education and training is preserved.
However, Warwickshire College Group, the sites owners, is pushing decision-makers to end the covenant and sell off the site to the highest bidder leaving the town without this specialist further education provision or the popular adult learning courses.
Although the Education and Skills Funding Agency – which gives Warwickshire College Group its annual budget – have determined that the provision for courses for 16-18 year olds in Malvern is sufficient but it did not consider the wider impact on lifelong learning. It also confirmed that the covenant is decided by Malvern Hills District Council.
“The covenant was wisely put in place by Malvern Hills District Council to ensure that the site is preserved for teaching and I have been clear throughout this process that my absolute priority is to ensure that courses continue in Malvern.
“I am glad that the Minister is looking into this matter and I’ve had the chance to raise this issue both in meetings and also in the House of Commons. The message could not be clearer that the community wants to save the college.
“I’m hoping that the Department will be able to help me to confirm that we won’t lift the covenant and can save Malvern Hills College for generations to come. Leaving a decaying site is the worst outcome for everyone.”