Huge heritage plant rehoming scheme is an environmental success story
Over 1,500 heritage plants, once a focal point within the vast atrium at Saxon Court, have been successfully rehomed – eliminating the risk of several hundred tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
As part of its commitment to creating a sustainable development, Socius, the mixed-use developer behind the planned MK Gateway site, has been managing a lengthy scheme to help rehome the large and fascinating collection of flora and fauna.
Everything from a 5m tall Crane flower to smaller shrubs have been found new places to call home across Milton Keynes with individuals, companies and charities, including Willen Hospice, all stepping forward to become new custodians.
Many of the plants are over 40 years old and as sustainably conscious place-makers, Socius were keen to protect and secure the future of these important legacy plants.
Throughout the entire process, Socius worked in partnership with Milton Keynes City Council and Tiny Jungle, a biophilic design specialist, to make sure the removal of the plants gave them the best chance in their new locations.
A series of initiatives were launched to donate as many of the plants as possible before work on the iconic former council building commenced and, as preparation work began, including a planned strip out of the site, a few of the final plants remained.
Sean Clegg from Tiny Jungle said: “This project has been two and a half years in the making. The appetite from local people has been amazing, we originally had 1,500 plants and, after several successful workshops with the public and schools, we were down to the last few.”
That’s where new coffee shop, Canal St Coffee, stepped into help. They recently opened their doors in nearby Campbell Wharf and have now taken some of the last plants as part of their ongoing refurbishments.
Mike Verwoert, co-founder of Doe and Fawn Coffee Roastery, and Canal St Coffee, said: “We were delighted to work with Socius and Tiny Jungle to re-home these beautiful plants. Why wouldn’t we want to save them? This is an opportunity to rehome some key parts of Milton Keynes’ green history, and we think these plants will fit in very well at our canal side location.”
Steve Eccles, Director at Socius, commented: “We are so proud to have rehomed all of these vitally important legacy plants for Milton Keynes. We estimate that saving these plants has meant we’ve stopped over 2 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide per plant being created and released into our atmosphere. We would like to say thank you to everyone who stepped forward to make that happen.”