New mayor of MK opens eco friendly tea pavilion

Milton Keynes Business Centre has opened a new, eco-friendly cafe in response to feedback received from business customers on site.

The Woodside Café was unveiled on 9th July 2021 by Councillor Mohammed Khan, the Mayor of Milton Keynes.

Costing £220,000, the pavilion is the latest investment by owners Capital Space Ltd to ensure that Milton Keynes Business Centre – which provides offices, studios and workshops for nearly 100 companies – meets the evolving needs of local small and medium-sized businesses.

It was commissioned in response to a survey of customers, who asked for more communal space in the centre’s grounds that would let them step away from their offices or workshops. It also revealed that customers desired a larger variety of healthy eating options, which the new Woodside Café provides.

“Throughout the past year, we’ve furthered our green mission by investing in roof-mounted PV panels, an eco-friendly car park, upcycling old pallets to create outdoor furniture – and now we’ve got an eco-friendly pavilion to add to the mix!”

The pavilion was officially opened at an event with guests which included long serving customers from the 100 businesses based on site, as well as the construction workers and design team involved with the pavilion’s creation who had the chance to sample and enjoy the new food and refreshments menu being offered.

Customers have welcomed the new facility and said how it provides a welcoming, informal meeting space. Tim Daily, from Freshwater Wills, said: “Part of the networking process is having a coffee and a natter. We can do that here and it’s great for building relationships and developing partnerships with other clients.”

Jeya Logathasan, from Logan Accountants, said: “It’s welcoming, relaxing and you can sit outside. I look forward to bringing my clients here.”

Raj Gohil, of Focus Group Recruitment, said: “It’s easily accessible for us and our staff. It’s a professional and intimate venue that works very well.”

Sue Turney, of Aspire Personnel, said: “For me, it means I can have my morning coffee and breakfast onsite before work. From a work perspective, it means I can bring clients and candidates here for meetings.”

In line with Capital Space’s driving ethical approach, the pavilion’s construction is a successful experiment in the use of off-site fabrication, which reduced assembly time from the 10 months that would have been required using traditional construction methods.

Specialist Midlands-based contractor, T.G Escapes Ltd, used sustainably sourced, low-carbon materials and a pre-fabricated timber frame construction. The pavilion also features an air source heat pump to maximise the sustainability of the building, producing three times the energy the pump consumes.

Matt Roberts, Milton Keynes Business Centre manager, says, “I am both very proud and excited to provide our customers and the local community with this wonderful new facility. Our focus is always to provide the very best environment for our customers’ businesses to thrive. This new communal space encourages collaboration and promotes both physical and mental health, which is more important than ever.

The accompanying Woodside Café is being run by the children of Deputy Centre Manager, Sue Stanbridge. Having supported many SMEs on the path to success in her role at Milton Keynes Business Centre, Sue is excited to be putting her knowledge to the test with this family venture.

“I’m thrilled to be supporting my son and daughter in their new business, acting in an advisory capacity to help them succeed,” Sue says. “We previously ran a pub and felt this was a great opportunity to build a new business together. The pavilion will also give people the option to use it at the weekends for events once it is safe to do so.”

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