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Groundbreaking Strawberry Smart Benches launch at MK1 and Banbury Gateway Shopping Parks


Visitors to both the Banbury Gateway and MK1 Shopping Parks in Milton Keynes no longer have to fret about their mobile phone battery fading away while they shop.

Shoppers are now able to use our innovative new Strawberry Smart Benches to power-up their Android and iPhone mobiles, along with other mobile devices with USB connections. These installations are the first for Milton Keynes and Banbury.

Strawberry Smart Bench

These smart platforms use solar energy to power gadgets without the need for electricity, therefore encouraging greener, cleaner energy use in the community. The Crown Estate has invested in the state-of-the-art benches, which are located in front of the M&S store in MK1 and between Outfit and Primark stores in Banbury Gateway and which enhance the business’ aspirations to develop it’s environmental credentials.

Jo Francis, Head of Retail Property Management for The Crown Estate commented: “The Crown Estate is delighted to partner with Strawberry Energy to install these multi functional smart benches across our retail schemes, as we continually strive to improve our shopping environments and respond to our consumers ever changing technology needs.”


This innovative street furniture launched in London’s Canary Wharf in October 2015 and was recently chosen as a winner of the ‘Connecting people and Creating Communities’ competition, organised by the Institute for Sustainability in partnership with the Mayor of London’s Office and supported by EIT Digital.

Miloš Milisavljević, CEO and founder of Strawberry energy commented: “The appeal of mobile phones and internet has changed people’s shopping habits, influencing their decisions and how they spend time in store. By responding to these changing digital needs, new technologies have the power to create a more enjoyable experience. We are glad that The Crown Estate shares the same vision and hope that we will jointly continue enhancing shoppers’ experiences in even more destinations across the UK”.

The highly practical Smart Benches can charge a phone battery from 0-100% in the same time as it would take at home, and it only takes 10 minutes to enliven your phone, ready for more shopping. The benches can also cleverly track air quality and noise levels in the surrounding area around the MK1 and Banbury Gateway Shopping Parks.

Retailers at MK1 include H&M, Marks & Spencer, New Look, Next, Primark and River Island, while the retailers at Banbury Gateway include Marks & Spencer, Fat Face, New Look, Next, Primark and River Island.

The Crown Estate is an independent commercial business, established by an Act of Parliament. Across its diverse portfolio, The Crown Estate’s approach remains consistent; driving sustainable returns and growth through an active approach to asset management and long-term investment in four key sectors. The Crown Estate’s portfolio is one of the most diverse anywhere in the world, including some of the UK’s most iconic assets: all of Regent Street and much of St James’s in central London; a UK top four portfolio of directly owned dominant regional shopping parks; one of the nation’s largest rural land portfolios; the entire UK seabed and around 50% of the foreshore.


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Strawberry Smart Bench

Strawberry Smart Bench is easily installable and movable street furniture powered by solar energy, that offers charging for mobile devices, environmental sensing, free emergency call and local info in public spaces.


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