Centre leads way in being green

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GOOD energy management has meant big cost savings for a shopping centre in central Milton Keynes, writes business editor David Tooley.

Midsummer Place Shopping Centre picked up the energy and environmental award at last year’s Milton Keynes and North Bucks Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

Martin Hindson

Martin Hindson

The category was sponsored by Coca-Cola Enterprises.

There was some tough competition from recycling company Cawleys and charity The Reuse Centre but the judges were impressed by the way the centre had managed to make a project a way of life.

The centre is managed by Martin Hindson, of managing agents King Sturge, on behalf of owners L&G. Both he and operations manager Paul Tilbury implement the strategy.

Paul has day-to-day responsibility for implementing the energy and environmental strategy and he goes about his task with an almost evangelical zeal.

It’s no wonder that the 60 retail units and about 1,400 people working there on a full-time and part-time basis have taken the message on board about using recycling bins and saving energy.

Martin said by examining cleaning and lighting contracts the company had been able to save an amazing £12,000.

“We have been looking at how staff have been working through the day and made changes to rotas,” explained Martin. And by looking at the use of cleaning products, money has been saved in those areas, too.

Car park lighting used to be on 24 hours a day but now is controlled by sensors.

As the managing agents save money, it makes good sense for the shopping centre’s tenants, too, as fees charged can also be more sustainable.

The Midsummer Place tenants include Debenhams, Topshop and H&M as well as several places to eat and relax.

Midsummer Place has been at the leading edge of environmental policies within L&G as lessons learned have been rolled out to centres in other parts of the country.

The centre was also praised by the award judges for influencing such a wide range of businesses. It uses an internal newsletter to push the message.

But Martin and his team are not about to rest on their laurels. The centre is visited by a staggering 16.5million people every year and they now see their task as extending to passing on the environmental message to all those people, too.

> See Natalee Hazelwood’s video profile behind the scenes at Midsummer Place at www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/business