Central Milton Keynes first food-growing green rooftop is to be trialled at Saxon Court

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YMCA residents will be recruited and trained to build the roof

Central MK’s first live lab rooftop that will be capable of growing food is to be to be trialled at Saxon Court.

Plans for the sustainable green rooftop have been announced by mixed-use developers First Base and investors Patron Capital, the team behind the new proposals for Saxon Court.

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The former council housing office building is currently being used as the city's mass vaccination centre, but afterwards First Base plans to build 287 apartments on the site, together with workspaces, a gym, an innovation hub and local independent food, drink, leisure and retail outlets.

An example of a Bridgman & Bridgman green roof elsewhere in the UKAn example of a Bridgman & Bridgman green roof elsewhere in the UK
An example of a Bridgman & Bridgman green roof elsewhere in the UK

The temporary roof project is being launched In collaboration with local living roof specialists, Bridgman & Bridgman, creative agency, Pooleyville, YMCA Milton Keynes and Milton Keynes Council.

It will deliver training and development opportunities for local young people as form part of the council’s Green Business Recovery Fund.

The project 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.

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Due to the growing awareness of the benefits of green roofs, the industry is looking for new, skilled workers to manage increasing demand. As part of the Saxon Court 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.

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 at 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.”

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“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 said: “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.”

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