MP in 11th hour shop plea

PUBLISHED: 12:28 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:23 06 May 2010

THE fight goes on to save the Learning Shop in Biggleswade. The shop s doors are due to close a week tomorrow, June 30, with Bedford College, which runs the shop, blaming a decline in interest. But a protest group Save Our Learning Centre (SOLC) mostly ma

THE fight goes on to save the Learning Shop in Biggleswade.

The shop's doors are due to close a week tomorrow, June 30, with Bedford College, which runs the shop, blaming a decline in interest.

But a protest group Save Our Learning Centre (SOLC) mostly made up of pensioners remains defiant.

During the past few weeks, members of SOLC have set up a stall in Biggleswade Market Square urging residents to sign their petition against the closure.

By this week an estimated 1,500 people had signed the petition including North East Beds Tory MP Alistair Burt who has backed the campaign to stop the doors closing for the last time.

The MP maintains the shop is a vital part of the Biggleswade community for people of all ages and should stay open and he may make an 11th hour appeal to Bedford College to try and get it to reverse the decision.

"This fight is not over yet and we'll keep fighting to keep the shop open until the last day," said SOLC member and chairman of the Biggleswade and District Pensioners' Association Ken Lynch. "So many people have signed our petition but many of them didn't even know the shop even existed until we started our petition.

"The college never bothered to advertise the shop and failed to inform people of the facility."

Bedford College maintains the shop will close on schedule because enrolments have declined in recent years and the lease has come to an end. The college also has a site in Eldon Way, Biggleswade, where it hopes to develop a training facility similar to the one in Saffron Street.

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