Neglected buildings become new business ‘incubator’ in the heart of Bedford

Some of the original 'Higgins Sheds' group with Jo Marks

Formerly derelict council-owned ‘sheds’ behind the Higgins Bedford on Castle Lane have been sympathetically renovated to provide startup space for new businesses.

Back in 2013, a group of locals, seeking to restore and preserve the sheds as a community asset, approached the council to develop the space into a creative co-working hub for startups.

Sadly, plans were thwarted when the Council decided to sell the sheds to a private developer.

“The council needed the money, and the buyer was willing to pay the asking price for the site,” said group co-ordinator and local businesswoman, Bridget Harris.

However, all was not lost, as the aims of the Higgins Sheds group chimed with Jo Marks who agreed to buy the property.

Speaking to the Bedford Independent, Jo says Marks Mews has the potential to bring dozens of employees into the town centre, to get their businesses off the ground.

Basing the renovation on many of the principles of the initial concept, the development aims to embrace a modern co-working ethos and provide affordable incubation space for new businesses.

On Tuesday (4 May), members of the original Higgins Sheds group were invited by Marks to see the completed project.

“Back in 2013 we were disappointed that our plans did not come to fruition,” said Bridget. “But having followed the development over the last six years, the new space is a brilliant asset for Bedford town centre and has followed the principle that was at the heart of our campaign.”

“The design has been so sympathetic to the original building and there is not only room for small startups, but also a co-working hub that echoes our original idea.”

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