Campaigners fighting to stop the development of historic tunnels have turned down an offer to buy them for £1.6 million.

Drakelow Preservation Trust, a group of residents who are obtaining charitable status to fight for the protection of the tunnels near Kidderminster, said an independent valuer told them they were worth little more than £200,000.

Birmingham-based charity Jericho Community Project had planned to buy the Second World War tunnels at Drakelow and convert them into a training facility for exoffenders and the long-term unemployed.

But after opposition from residents Jericho offered to act as a negotiator and sell the site to the trust.

Jericho said the sale must be agreed before its controversial proposals go before planning chiefs at Wyre Forest District Council in May.

Mick Freer, chairman of the trust, said: "We are not going to buy the tunnels at the price offered to us. We are going to carry on fighting the plans, which will go to the development control committee on May 18.

"We as a charity will carry on with a view to protect that site and increase awareness about them. It is all about informing people and getting the recognition the tunnels deserve. Commercially the site is worth very little but culturally it is worth a fortune but that shouldn't translate into the sale price. We always thought that Jericho, being a charity, asking another charity, would give us fair consideration instead of trying to exploit."