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Canterbury Whitefriars

We’ve been buzzing about on the rooftops

Jenny Pidgeon (Director of Property, Responsible Property Investment) discusses two sustainability initiatives we have going on at our Whitefriars Shopping Centre in Canterbury.

​About 1,000 years ago, the friars that lived on the site of our Henderson UK Shopping Centre Fund's Whitefriars Shopping Centre in Canterbury kept bees. They ate the honey, used it to brew mead and made candles with the beeswax. Last year we reintroduced honeybees to Whitefriars Shopping Centre as part of our sustainability programme and installed three hives on the roof to help pollinate the city centre’s flowers and provide an education facility for new beekeepers.

Last month we held a ‘Bee Day’ in the Centre to spread the word about how important bees are to the environment and the economy (The National Audit Office has estimated the value of bees' pollination services to the UK at £200m a year and the retail value of the crops, fruit and vegetables they pollinate was valued closer to £1bn). We gave away packets of bee-friendly wild flower seeds and shoppers were given the opportunity to view a live hive, try on a bee suit and sample some of Whitefriars' honey.

But bees aren’t the only environmentally-friendly thing up on the roof these days. They now have to share the space with our newly installed PV solar panels. Following our successful installation of PV panels on two B&Q sheds last year, we identified Whitefriars Shopping Centre as the next candidate. We will now be generating almost 100,000 kWh electricity each year, saving 54 tonnes CO2, reducing the energy cost for the service charge and generating a stable income stream. Just another example of how a sustainability initiative can add real value to a property.