Hope is running high among the group bidding to turn the Higgins Sheds into a community tech hub as they made it onto a shortlist of potential buyers.
This week they received a letter from Bedford Borough Council inviting them to submit a more detailed proposal for the premises. The council owns the disused buildings and is looking to sell them.
Speaking for the group, Bridget Harris said: “We’re in full throttle now to put together a credible bid by December 23. We are exploring lots of different options to buy the place, and with the impressive people working in the team, I think we can give anyone a run for their money.”
She added: “We think it’s possible to fund this as a community, not-for-profit project without converting some of it to residential flats.”
The Higgins Sheds Group has been inundated with people interested in the bid, with more than 50 signing up via the website.
Mrs Harris said: “Our plan will be financially viable and make perfect sense but we want the council to go with us because Bedford and the community are behind us. We are inviting anyone interested to go to our website and sign up.”
At the heart of the plan is the ambition to provide young people with opportunities in the tech, IT and creative industries. It is hoped that Bedford could join places such as Oxford as a centre of excellence in the field.
Mrs Harris added: “What is there for young people who cannot, or do not want to go to university and want to stay in Bedford?
“The IT industry is continuously changing so they want local opportunities and apprenticeships. This building could be the catalyst for creating such companies and tech start-ups in Bedford.”