“Green” council puts MOSS on the walls inside its Milton Keynes HQ as part of £315,000 office refurbishment

Milton Keynes Council can’t be accused of letting grass grow under its feet –  but it has put preserved MOSS on walls inside the civic offices as part of a £315,000 refurbishment.

Thursday, 9th January 2020, 4:45 pm

The council says the move is a “small nod to MK’s much-loved green spaces” but one councillor has blasted the idea at a time when the city has seen an upsurge in homelessness.

Cllr Peter Geary (Cons, Olney) said: “I am amazed that someone thought putting moss on the walls is a good use of public money, at these times when there is so much homelessness and things to do in MK.”

A spokesman for MK Council said: “The preserved moss walls are a small nod to MK’s much loved green spaces.

One of the panels of wall moss upstairs at the civic offices
One of the panels of wall moss upstairs at the civic offices

“They’re a little part of improvements to our public spaces and committee rooms, including new acoustic ceiling panels and microphones.

“We hold hundreds of public meetings every year at Civic and this work is part of our commitment to taking democracy seriously.

“Being more accessible and welcoming local people to council meetings is something we think is important.”

Other changes at the offices at Saxon Gate East in the city centre include a new more “security-conscious reception layout” with yellow lines on new carpeting and a new reception desk.

Some of the refurbished civic offices

The council says changes are needed following “two difficult incidents in 2019”. There is also improved seating for visitors to the homelessness service, and outside the council chamber.

The council says there has been “no additional cost to taxpayers” because it has been able to make savings in its management structure to fund the £315,000 of “upgrades”.

It’s also spent money on new technology in the committee rooms, and on Monday display monitors constantly went off during a presentation. Those failures were later put down to “human error.”

The spokesman added: “We’re always interested in ideas to improve the building and the way it works. You can find us on social media to tell us your ideas.”

The council has recently been blasted for leaving the lights on all night.