Central MK’s first live lab rooftop to be trialled at Saxon Court

Posted 3rd June 2021

To coincide with World Green Roof Day (6th June), plans for Central Milton Keynes’ first, highly sustainable, “live lab” green rooftop have been announced by mixed-use developers First Base and investors Patron Capital, the team behind the new proposals for Saxon Court. In collaboration with local living roof specialists, Bridgman & Bridgman, creative agency, Pooleyville, YMCA Milton Keynes and Milton Keynes Council, the temporary project will also deliver exciting training and development opportunities for local young people.

The initiative forms part of MK Council’s Green Business Recovery Fund and will draw on local, specialist expertise to demonstrate the biodiversity and carbon capture benefits of green roofs within urban areas, as well as the ability to grow food on rooftops

Due to the climate emergency and growing awareness of the benefits of green roofs, the industry is looking for new, skilled workers to manage increasing demand. As part of this project, YMCA residents will be offered the opportunity to be trained and awarded certifications in the installation and maintenance of green roofs, providing them with the skills to meet future employment opportunities.

Concluding in April 2022, the newly skilled green roof installers will be given the chance to reuse materials and features from the Saxon Court live lab and apply their new skills to create their own green roof on the new YMCA Milton Keynes building.

Delivering substantial environmental benefits of living roofs within urban areas, the Saxon Court initiative is also in alignment with Milton Keynes’ ambitions of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and carbon negative by 2050. The initiative also aligns with First Base and Patron Capital’s commitment to deliver over £300m of social value over 20 years, including support for local employment, training, and skills. The development has also signed up to the Milton Keynes Cornerstone Employment scheme, with a focus on delivering employability support for local young people.

Steve Eccles, Project Director, First Base, said: “We are committed to delivering a sustainable development at Saxon Court, from embodied carbon savings through the retention of the original building, through to embracing zero emissions mobility, energy efficiency, renewable technologies and improving on-site biodiversity.”

 We are therefore delighted that Saxon Court will be the test bed for a dynamic green roof which will offer immediate and substantial environmental benefits for Central Milton Keynes, as well as providing fantastic opportunities for YMCA residents to learn new skills, setting them up for sustainable employment in the future.”

Chris Bridgman, Managing Partner of Bridgman & Bridgman commented: “We’ve worked across the UK on green roof and roof garden projects, and we are delighted to be working locally with First Base to demonstrate the huge range of benefits living rooftops offer.”

“With such a fast-growing industry, we need to create and support green jobs and training opportunities to keep up with the growing demand for urban greening and green infrastructure.  Green roofs are a vital tool for climate action and for helping Milton Keynes become the greenest city in the world.”

Councillor Jenny Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Climate and Sustainability at MK Council said: “We’re committed to supporting new green and creative jobs as Milton Keynes looks to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“We’re delighted to be able to launch this newest scheme with an MK-based firm leading in their industry, while also providing training and development opportunities for local young people.”