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Photograph : Ruby Cripps, winner of “Making Places” St. Modwen’s national schools Photography Competition, 2016

As part of St. Modwen’s 30th Anniversary a national schools photography competition was launched. Titled “Making Places”, it was designed to build on the company’s growing schools engagement programme (p.72-75) and to link education with regeneration, art and urban design. Over 400 GCSE Art students in a wide range of schools across St. Modwen’s regions entered. The photographs capture how a new generation sees regeneration and the places and communities in which they live. The winning composition from Ruby Cripps of Vyners School, Uxbridge, who photographed the former RAF base at St. Andrew’s Park Uxbridge (p.60), is shown on the front cover and the other finalists are shown on this page.

Ryan Anderson, Thistley Hough Academy The Trentham Estate and Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent

Leanne Watts, Dwr-Y-Felin Comprehensive School Bay Campus, Swansea University

Josephine Lennon, Priory Community School Locking Parklands, Weston-super-Mare

Lauren Richards, Chace Community School Edmonton Green, Enfield

Madeleine Bradley, John Taylor High School Branston Leas, Burton upon Trent

Beth Allen, Notre Dame Catholic College Great Homer Street, Liverpool


The Great Hall, Bay Campus, Swansea University


Introduction Coed Darcy, South Wales It’s a fact Longbridge, Birmingham In good company St. Modwen in pictures In good company Sir Stanley Clarke In good company The Trentham Estate In good company St. Andrew’s Park, Uxbridge Hard hats off! It’s all academic In good company Reflections from Bill Oliver

4 8 16 20 26 27 43 44 48 50 58 60 66 72 76 78

Front cover: image used for artistic representation only and to reflect ‘a generation of regeneration’ strapline. This image is not connected in any way to a St. Modwen site or working practices.



St. Modw The same month St. Modwen floated on the stock market, in April 1986, The Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks as a hapless house renovator topped the box office. In cleaning up 10,000 acres of brownfield land over the past 30 years St. Modwen has become the most skilled company in Britain at extracting brass from muck, rather than the reverse, as this 84-page anniversary celebration demonstrates.

Peter Bill, former editor of Estates Gazette and author of Planet Property


Development is a risky business at the best of times. The worst of times have cycled in twice since 1986. Once in 1990, then again in 2007. First time around I was editor of Building magazine. In late 1988 I suggested that “smoke signals coming from the construction industry are puffing the same story… material shortages, price rises or even the mythical £100 a day bricklayer, the message is… the industry is overheating.” St. Modwen survived. Many didn’t have the simple guts to do what Sir Stanley Clarke did. His words from 1990 on p.46 say much for the man. “Everyone was running scared, and the banks got after us. They said we’ve got to close offices, got to do a rights issue… I was so cross, I

stood up to my full height… and I took my fist… and I banged it down on the table... They could never understand what we were doing, those City boys.” What’s easy to understand is Sir Stanley, his successor from 1989 Anthony Glossop, and then from 2004 Bill Oliver, continued to tackle seriously daunting projects such as Coed Darcy p.8 and Longbridge p.20. The second time round I was editor of Estates Gazette. In April 2006 I worried that “there is now a darker and scarier feel that (the commercial property sector) is now detached from the reasonable view that markets go down as well as up.” When the next economic hurricane hit in 2007 St. Modwen withstood the storm. Between June 2007 and June 2009 real estate values fell 45% and land values fell further. Most developers bust their banking covenants. A few big house builders teetered close to bankruptcy. As I say in the profile of Bill Oliver p.79 “What is extraordinary to trouble-seekers (like me) is how well St. Modwen charted the deepest property recession in modern history.”

en at Today the Company stands strong, feet firmly planted on the ground laid by Sir Stanley Clarke. As Andrew Catmur of consulting engineers Andrew Catmur Engineering Ltd suggests p.58 “Over many years St. Modwen has acquired land that others saw no value in or considered too risky.” Why this strategy works is clear and best put by Heraclis Economides, of Numis Securities p.26. So let’s leave the last word to St. Modwen’s eyes and ears in the City:

“What I like about the people at St. Modwen is that they have maintained the principles and virtues that were instilled at the time of their stock market floatation. They are about taking long-term views, being very collegiate with their staff. If someone had invested £1,000 in St. Modwen in 1986 that would now be worth £62,000*. That works out at a 15% compound annual return, that even beats buying a Mayfair flat in 1986!”

*Correct at time of interview



30 years of St. Modwen Timeline

Attention switched to increasing rental income. St. Modwen established by reverse takeover in April 1986 by Redman Heenan International plc and becomes a publicly listed company.


Regeneration strategy established. Major expansion of range of partnerships with landowners, local authorities and major companies.

St. Modwen enters FTSE250 (November 2003).

2000 to 2003


1986 to 1990


Rapid growth due to substantial development programme based on enterprise zones and industrial schemes.

Established joint venture with Salhia Real Estate Company K.S.C. (KPI)

Programme moved to include retail schemes and office parks.


Major acquisitions include portfolios from Alstom and Marconi.

£100m convertible bond launched.

Selected as development partner with VINCI PLC for the proposed redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market. £80m retail bond issued.


New student accommodation Development Agreement signed with Swansea University to deliver 538 additional student apartments. Resolution to grant planning secured for the regeneration of the New Covent Garden Market sites.


30th anniversary as a publicly listed company.


2005 to 2010



Selected as preferred developer on many town centre regeneration schemes.

Development Agreement signed with Covent Garden Market Authority for redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market.

Covent Garden Market Authority contract unconditional and recognised on balance sheet.

Development Agreement signed with Swansea University for first phase of its £450m Bay Campus development.

Bay Campus, Swansea University opened to 917 new student residents.

Acquisition of large industrial sites including: Longbridge, Llanwern, Project MoDel, Coed Darcy and BP Portfolio. £107m equity issue in 2009. Established JV with Persimmon Homes plc. Established St. Modwen Homes.

£49m equity placing.

Phase 2 Longbridge Town Centre plus 150,000 sq ft M&S store completed and now trading.



Where there’s muck there’s St. Modwen


In this post-industrial age, sites for heavy engineering plants, raw material processing and manufacturing facilities are increasingly redundant, blighted and no longer central to our economy. Yet there is increased demand for housing and modern employment facilities, so reclaiming brownfield land is vital for the country.

St. Modwen is a leader in this area. Its highly skilled team of construction experts works closely with leading advisors and companies, Government agencies and regulators to ensure that the latest and most sustainable, environmentally responsible techniques are employed across its remediation and construction projects.

Cleaning up, recycling and reusing this previously developed land and transforming poor quality sites into flourishing new communities and successful business destinations is a trigger for future economic growth.

St. Modwen’s 6,000 acre land bank currently features hundreds of acres of land in the process of being remediated, reclaimed, remodelled and redeveloped. In fact, around 90% of St. Modwen’s developable portfolio is brownfield.

The great clean up at Coed Darcy, the site of the former Llandarcy Oil Refinery, South Wales



Coed Darcy, South Wales The Anglo Persian Oil Company established an oil refinery in Llandarcy, South Wales, in 1918 when Winston Churchill, the then minister for munitions, realised the strategic national importance of being able to refine crude oil on home territory. Llandarcy was chosen because of its proximity to Swansea docks, where crude oil could be transported by sea from the Middle East. During more than 70 years of industrial production, Llandarcy rose, under the control British Petroleum (BP), to become one of the largest employers in Wales with over 2,600 workers. In the second World War it withstood attempts by the German Luftwaffe to destroy it. By the time the plant had started to shut down in the mid1980s, however, it had also become one of the most devastatingly polluted sites in Europe. When it finally closed in 1998, BP’s Llandarcy Oil refinery’s legacy included 1,060 acres of land heavily polluted with the by-products of 70 years of intense production in processing hydrocarbons. Never a company to shrink from a challenge, St. Modwen acquired the Llandarcy site in 2008 after a four year long bid process, run by BP, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community. St. Modwen immediately turned it into one of Europe’s biggest and most successful remediation projects. Neil Williams, Construction Manager and St. Modwen’s “head of muck”, speaking to the Financial Times explained how the timing of the start on site was very fortuitous: “We were getting


going just as the remediation of the Olympics site in London was finishing in 2008/09,” he said. “That allowed us to procure skilled contractors and specialist equipment more readily than would normally have been the case.” Chemical plants leave highly toxic compounds but this site was heavily contaminated with filth – hydrocarbon wastes are not compatible with the development of a new community. St. Modwen brought in leading specialist companies including Celtic, Hydrock and Hawk, as well as WS Atkins who acted as engineering consultants while introducing ground-breaking (literally) technologies to transform the site. Techniques never before seen in the UK were used to treat the different types of oily residue. Heavy oils that had sunk to the bottom of ponds and lagoons, forming a deep layer of sludge, received a de-watering treatment. A specialist dredging team pumped 60,000 cubic metres of oily sludge up into Geotubes – huge cylinders developed in the Netherlands. The Geotubes’ fabric enabled most of the water to drain out of the sludge. This left a more concentrated material with a consistency like peat, to which the team added “cement bypass dust”, a waste product of cement manufacturing.


It withstood attempts by the German Luftwaffe to destroy it. By the time the plant had started to shut down in the mid1980s, however, it had also become one of the most devastatingly polluted sites in Europe. 11


The end result was a structural material which could be used to build road embankments for Coed Darcy without having to bring in construction materials. Neil Williams explained the advantages: “One aim of the remediation has been to keep the movement of waste in and out of the site to a minimum by reusing as much as possible at Coed Darcy. With landfill tax at £72 a tonne we wanted to retain all our waste on site”. The lighter hydrocarbons, which formed a top layer on open ponds, reservoirs and shallow groundwater, were easier to handle. They could be removed with specialist mops for recycling into oil products. Earth that was less heavily contaminated but still in need of cleaning was subject to bioremediation, where natural soil bacteria broke down the hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. To introduce the oxygen needed for this process, the ground was ploughed up to form rows of earth that could be aerated further by turning them over every two or three weeks.


Despite the past century’s industrial activity, Llandarcy retained some rich wildlife on its doorstep – notably Crymlyn Bog and Pant y Sais National Nature Reserve, the largest surviving lowland fen in Wales. This internationally important wetland is providing a natural source of native plants and animals to spread back across the site. According to Natural Resources Wales, Coed Darcy already hosts the largest population of great crested newts in Wales. St. Modwen’s Neil Williams deserves the last words:

“We have turned this site from a black place into a lovely, green environment.”

Coed Darcy cleaned up: with clear waters and thriving wildlife



Coed Darcy - Project facts A 25-year project, where the industrial legacy left by the former BP Llandarcy oil refinery site is being regenerated into Coed Darcy, a thriving new community with a potential economic impact of ÂŁ1.2bn.

sq ft of new employment accommodation

homes for around 10,000 residents


primary schools and one secondary school





sq ft of retail and leisure space

85,000 sq ft of additional commercial space

BP portfolio - Project facts

Such was St. Modwen’s meticulous and innovative approach to remediation and brownfield renewal that Coed Darcy now forms part of a larger linked development by St. Modwen in South Wales, following the acquisition of 2,500 acres of additional disused sites from BP in 2009. This linked development is anticipated to take approximately 30 years to complete and has four key areas of focus: Employment - the 1,050 acre Baglan Bay site is earmarked to provide over 4m sq ft of employment space as well as some residential units, located on the fringes of the site outside the former operational area. Education - the 65 acre former BP Transit site has been transformed into the new £450m Bay Campus for Swansea University. With a potential economic impact of £3bn over the 10 year life of the project, the campus focusses on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subjects.

Housing - the 1,060 acre Coed Darcy, a new sustainable community with provision for 4,000 homes and a proposed development at Sully comprising 200 homes and sports facilities. Environment - part of Baglan Bay is home to a 20,000 panel photovoltaic park which Is now generating electricity at a level close to five million KwH per annum, sufficient to supply energy to more than 1,200 homes. St. Modwen also owns a 2,000 acre sand dune; known as Crymlyn Burrows this Site of Special Scientific Interest is located adjacent to the newly developed Bay Campus for Swansea University.

Collectively, this linked development amounts to 3,500 acres making St. Modwen the largest private owner of brownfield land in South Wales. The vital statistics for the clean-up of this large portfolio are astounding:


tonnes of concrete was recycled


km of pipeline and cables, were also reclaimed and removed


tonnes of sludge was cleaned up utilising new technologies to produce material usable for landscaping


litres of oil was recovered from lakes, ponds and soil and recycled for use as fuel and lubricants



It’s a fact

The sometimes strange but often compelling world of St. Modwen...

We’re especially proud of our brewing and Burton heritage from which we derive our name and identity:


Originating from Burton upon Trent, St. Modwenna was the patron saint of wells

The first properties acquired by St. Modwen were over 1m sq ft of former brewery buildings in Burton

The legend says that upon her death St. Modwenna’s soul was taken to heaven by silver swans – and so the symbol of the swan for Burton upon Trent was born, giving St. Modwen its saintly name and emblem

30 years on, the Company has worked with a local Burton brewery to create its own St. Modwen bitter “Gateway Gold”

In 30 years St. Modwen has:

Cleaned up over 10,000 acres of brownfield land

Delivered over 30m sq ft of industrial and office space

Developed 35,000 homes creating hundreds of new communities across the UK

Created over 270,000 new jobs

Delivered 16m sq ft of retail and leisure space



It’s a fact

We’ve owned some interesting stuff, and in some cases still do...


Nine horse racecourses

10 miles of canal

800 acres of seabed

A 20,000 panel photovoltaic park and an energy centre (collectively providing enough power for over 4,000 homes)

50 miles of train track (and 100 metres of miniature railway)

Three reservoirs

20 Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (including over 1,000 acres of sand dunes)

2,000 pubs

...and there’s more with:

The world’s largest car plant

An 18 hole golf course

Dudley Zoo

The UK’s first ever crude oil refinery (opened by Sir Stanley Baldwin)

Three aeroplanes

The Battle of Britain Headquarters and a WW2 museum

140 monkeys

Brighton Pier

Mine shafts and collieries

Shares in a 28,000 seat Stoke City football stadium



Longbridge, Birmingham


The 250,000 sq ft Bournville College, Longbridge, Birmingham



Longbridge, Birmingham If the oil refineries at Coed Darcy reflect the raw power of Britain’s international trade from Swansea docks, then Longbridge, Birmingham epitomises 20th century manufacturing in Britain - the beating heart of the car industry in the Midlands. Longbridge is the birthplace of classic British motoring, including brands such as Austin, British Leyland, Morris and MG Rover. It is the home of the Mini. However, radical changes to the industry and manufacturing economy in the region in the late 20th century saw the phased closure of parts of the works - the largest car plant in the world - culminating in the collapse of MG Rover in 2005. That left the problem - what to do with 468 acres of contaminated muck, metal and ground water located just eight miles from Birmingham City Centre? How to transform it into something new whilst also celebrating its past? How to make Longbridge again home to a community of workers and families for the 21st century? St. Modwen’s masterplan is now delivering that vision with an ambitious programme of new homes, modern business and industrial space, a town centre and campus for Bournville College. Delivery of the plan has had to contend with a major remediation challenge. The car plant had made its mark on the landscape for over


a century - leaving sprawling hulks of metal and glass above ground and a heavy toxic footprint in the soil. St. Modwen set about its clean-up with a phased remediation strategy, agreed in partnership with the environmental authorities. For the last decade, Longbridge has been the patient in a long treatment process: painstaking work has taken place to remove hydrocarbons from the soil and ground water; tens of thousands of soil and water samples have been taken, processed and examined; dust, noise and odour have been constantly monitored to ensure that the new Longbridge can reflect the spirit and heritage of the old, but not its chemical legacy. 468 acres and 100 years of manufacturing has meant a lot of soil to scrub clean and some specific challenges. At the Longbridge, East Works site 120,000 tonnes of soil has been transferred for the development plateau, along with the creation of a huge cut-off wall to protect the site from surrounding impacted areas.

Longbridge High Street



Longbridge had been central to the British war effort, building the planes that would be directed from command centres such as RAF Uxbridge. The once-mighty 95,877 sq ft Flight Shed had however become a rusting, toxic ruin, requiring a six-year mission to extract hydrocarbons, recover and recycle materials and remove a contaminated groundwater plume within former tunnels and the surrounding soil. However, the effort is now paying off. A total of 400 new homes have now been delivered. The East Works site alone is now unrecognisable a 229-home community developed through St. Modwen’s joint venture with Persimmon Homes. Planning consent has also been granted for an additional 215 homes on land south of the new town centre. The heart of the new Longbridge community the new town centre - has also taken shape and is continuing to grow. Already home to a major Sainsbury’s superstore, restaurants, shops and cafes, M&S opened its full offer store in 2015, the largest M&S in the Midlands. The town’s green spaces are also beginning to bloom - something that would have seemed unthinkable in the site’s industrial heyday. Iron and concrete have been replaced by over 550 trees, 20,000 plants and lawns in the new Austin Park next to the town centre and along the uncovered River Rea, which had been buried for more than 100 years. This is the first new public park to be built in South West Birmingham in the last 50 years. Demolition and remediation has also been critical in paving the way for Longbridge’s economic future, with the creation of over 3,700 jobs since 2007. Demonstrating the diverse nature of this thriving new community, works are now underway on a 180 bedroom facility for the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. A £35m ExtraCare retirement village is also close to completion. A huge range of commercial activity is also taking place. The Longbridge Innovation Centre and Technology Park are home to over 100 modern businesses, whilst St. Modwen’s own head office now sits in the heart of the town at Park Point. These new businesses reflect a more diverse and sustainable economic future for Longbridge, but most excitingly, the regeneration of the site has paved the way for a rebirth of manufacturing in the town. The 35-acre Cofton Centre includes modern manufacturing and distribution facilities and the 500,000 sq ft Longbridge West is designed for advanced manufacture. MG Motor UK itself still sits proudly at the heart of the town.



High Street

, Birmingha


Longbridge - Project facts

A place where people want to live, work, visit and invest Now



6 acres



Longbridge Tech Park


Cofton Centre



new jobs, created since 2007

new homes

home to nearly 100 businesses employing over 400 people

of new parks

Bournville College teaching 3,500 students in a range of industries

manufacturing and distribution facilities creating over 300 jobs

town centre

infrastructure programme

gross value added to the regional economy

The Factory youth centre

We still have lots in the pipeline, including...

105,000 sq ft

Phase 3


180 bed


500,000 sq ft

One Park Square head office building

accommodation for Royal Centre for Defence Medicine

of town centre

Longbridge growth fund boosting physical and digital infrastructure

new Extra Care retirement village

at Longbridge West for advanced manufacturing facilities

... with more to come. 25


In good company

Bay Campus


mmodation, Sw

Student Acco

BROKER Heraclis Economides Managing Director Corporate Broking and Advisory Numis Securities Ltd I have been very privileged to look after St. Modwen at different banks for 20 years and they followed me to Numis which I am very flattered by. St. Modwen is unique. It takes a very long-term view of what it does, unlike other companies on the stock market that are focussed on short-term profit.

“Anyone can buy or build a shiny building in a major city but it takes tremendous vision to create a destination out of nothing. There are places like Coed Darcy and Longbridge just to name a few, where St. Modwen has done just that”

*Correct at time of interview


What I like about the people at St. Modwen is that they have maintained the principles and virtues that were instilled at the time of their stock market floatation, and those values were planted by the founders Sir Stanley Clarke and Jim Leavesley. They have been perpetuated by successive CEOs. They are about taking longterm views, being very collegiate with their staff and becoming the best in brownfield regeneration and being recognised for that. If someone had invested £1,000 in St. Modwen in 1986 that would now be worth £62,000*. That works out at a 15% compound annual return, which is double what you would have achieved had you invested in a basket of property stocks back in 1986, and that even beats buying a Mayfair flat in 1986! The success of St. Modwen now, 30 years on, is that it is in the top 350 companies in the UK. It has a very strong balance sheet and a portfolio full of opportunities, so I am quite certain that they will be able to create long-term value over the next 30 years. As one investor said to me: “Anyone can buy or build a shiny building in a major city but it takes tremendous vision to create a destination out of nothing.” There are places like Coed Darcy and Longbridge just to name a few, where St. Modwen has done just that and has a tremendous reputation across the country in doing that kind of regeneration. “All this shows is that time is the friend of the wonderful company and the enemy of the mediocre one” as Warren Buffett likes to say.


St. Modwen in pictures

St. Modwen Head Office, Park Point, Longbridge



The Great Hall, which features the Sir Stanley Clarke Auditorium, Bay Campus, Swansea University




Above: The North Square, Edmonton Green, Enfield. St. Modwen has invested over £100m since 1999 regenerating the shopping centre. Below: Potting up herbs at New Covent Garden Market ‘Edible Avenue’ community project.


Above: Community tree planting on the Trentham Estate. Below: Vodafone Building, Etruria Valley, Stoke-on-Trent. Valley




430,000 sq ft flagship distribution warehouse for Adidas in Manchester




Locking Parklands, Weston-super-Mare, formerly the Ministry of Defence RAF Locking site which operated as a RAF training facility from 1939-1998



St. Andrew’s Park, Uxbridge, formerly the site of RAF Uxbridge, home of fighter command No.11 Group from 1939 to 1958 and now a 110 acre new community featuring a 40 acre new park for London





Charles Barry’s restored Italian Gardens, The Trentham Estate and Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent




The 20,000 panel solar park, Baglan Bay, South Wales, formerly the site of a BP Petrochemicals factory and now generates enough electricity to power 1,200 homes



310,000 sq ft Screwfix extension under construction, Trentham Lakes, Stoke-on-Trent



e Light The Longbridg ership Festival in partn with WERK

In good company ARTIST Claire Farrell Director/Curator WERK I approached St. Modwen in late 2012 to work in partnership to support the development of an independent artist-led public art and place-making project to support the regeneration of Longbridge through community engagement.

“Working with St. Modwen has been the most refreshing and exciting opportunity to date.”

As an independent art organisation we have worked with developers, urban design and planning professionals and diverse partners over the last ten years within an array of projects in the built environment. Working with St. Modwen has been the most refreshing and exciting opportunity to date. St. Modwen’s openness and willingness to work in an organic and holistic way has enabled us to create meaningful and long-term opportunities to not only enhance the environment through physical public art, but most importantly it has enabled the socially engaged process to flourish and evolve into artwork with a sense of place. St. Modwen’s problem solving and ‘can do’ approach has been incredibly inspiring. St. Modwen’s staff across the board embrace innovation and new ways of working; as an arts organisation working with the private sector this is a very exciting and rare opportunity.  St. Modwen considers long-term opportunities, outcomes and legacy potential in every aspect of its work, this is a vision and value that we share at WERK. The consistent approach to diverse developments in terms of the value the organisation places upon environmental policy and the consideration of socioeconomic potential and opportunities is an incredible example of social responsibility that has been embedded within the organisation’s vision and values.  The Longbridge Public Art Project (LPAP) culminates in 2017, however we have also recently designed and created a national schools ‘place making’ photography competition for St. Modwen in celebration of their 30th anniversary, and we look forward to seeing the exciting results from the next generation of artists and builders.



Sir Stanley Clarke: A man of vision and integrity

Sir Stanley started his life as a professional plumber aged 16.


Sir Stanley cleaning the church yard before his daughter’s wedding.

In St. Modwen’s 30th year it is right to revisit the legacy of the Company’s founder Sir Stanley Clarke. He rose from simple origins to become a successful property developer, a leading figure in the world of racing and a committed philanthropist. When he died in 2004 at the age of 71 the whole of the property industry paid tribute to Sir Stanley Clarke’s inspirational leadership. He was recognised as a man of exceptional vision and integrity, whose life was distinguished by unshakeable loyalties and relentless energy.

He was a man of prodigious drive, even from a young age; when he was eight he told his playground friends that he was going to be a millionaire. He more than achieved that goal in 1986, when he sold what by that time had become the Clarke Group to Balfour Beatty for £51m.

He started his professional life as a plumber at the age of 16 in 1949 with a bicycle,a trailer and his tools. In the following 50 years, Sir Stanley became one of the most successful men in the Midlands, High Sheriff of Staffordshire, a Commander of the British Empire, a Knight of the Realm, a top property developer and one of British horse racing’s most revered figures. He was also made an Honorary Doctor by the University of Staffordshire.

The disposal of Clarke Homes enabled Sir Stanley to concentrate his business skills on St. Modwen, which focused on the re-development of brownfield sites for retail, homes, office buildings and industrial estates. Early successes included Concorde Business Park near Manchester Airport, and Festival Park on the site of the 1986 National Garden Festival at Stoke-on-Trent.

Sir Stanley was a self-made man who never forgot his roots and was proud of the fact that he started as a plumber. He always maintained close links with his home and eventually bought the 1,200 acre Dunstall Hall – a stately home near Burton upon Trent – where his mother once worked as a maid. One of his first plumbing jobs was at Dunstall Hall itself, a job that took five years and provided him with the funds for his first property deal: he paid £125 for a plot of land which he then sold on, with planning permission, for £650. In an Observer article in 2001, he revisited the beginnings of his property empire with the words: ‘I thought this land job’s a lot better than plumbing’. He always believed that quality was a prime requirement of any business or private enterprise, a notion that gained Clarke Homes (his first property company) six National House Building awards on different sites around the country in a single year.

The St. Modwen name dates back to 1966, when Sir Stanley originally founded St. Modwen Developments. Once again, the local connection is evident: St. Modwenna is the patron saint of the wells from which the brewing industry extracts its water in Burton upon Trent. Her symbol is a swan: so is St. Modwen’s. St. Modwen Properties was set up shortly after the sale of the Clarke Group. It reversed into the engineering group Redman Heenan. Clive Lewis, who sat on the board of St. Modwen for 14 years, recalled: ‘There was some advice given that he should start with a clean sheet. Redman Heenan had not produced people who had taken the company forward at the speed Sir Stanley wanted to take St. Modwen forward. But he said, “No, I’ll give them a chance”. That was a very astute move, because he found Anthony Glossop, and those two chaps have worked hand in glove ever since.’



Standards are very important. Integrity has to be top of the list with clients. An Englishman’s word is his bond.

Anthony Glossop told Property Week at the time of Sir Stanley’s death: “Time and again he could inspire ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results through his guidance and leadership. In all his businesses he was committed to building a team that could carry on where he had to leave off.” The property crash of the early 1990s, brought a confrontation with the banks, in Sir Stanley’s words: “Everyone was running scared, and the banks got after us. They said we’ve got to close offices, got to do a rights issue ... I was so cross, I stood up to my full height ... and I took my fist ... and I banged it down on the table. That’s when we started


the policy of using the rent roll to cover all dividends. They could never understand what we were doing, those City boys.” Sir Stanley found the time to expand his racing interests, starting with the purchase of Uttoxeter racecourse and in Northern Racing building up a portfolio of eight racecourses, before reversing into Chepstow Racecourse, which was then listed on the Alternative Investment Market in 2003. In Who’s Who, Sir Stanley’s recreations were listed as horse racing and breeding race horses. A modest description for man who owned the 1997 Grand National winner Lord Gyllene and Cheltenham Festival winners Rolling Ball and Barton.

Peter Hardy, the Warburg managing director who identified Redman Heenan as a likely vehicle for St. Modwen’s float, remembers Sir Stanley fondly. “He was somebody you could trust. He was totally reliable and a very sound thinker of strategy. Once he had made up his mind to do something he really got on with it. He was a true entrepreneur. Having found a deal he would identify all sorts of property angles in it – things that other people couldn’t be bothered with.”

First edition of the Clarke Courier



In good company TENANT Jimmy Gates Co-Director Ramtech Ltd I am Co-Director of Ramtech Ltd, an electrical, mechanical and implementation engineering company. We have been tenants of St. Modwen at Trident Business Park in the North West for nearly 25 years. They always accommodate us, and I hope we can continue our relationship for another 25 years.

“They are very friendly and we have an excellent working relationship with them.”

When Ramtech first started we were in a small office in Stockport. One of our main clients was United Utilities, so we needed good transport links and as a company we were expanding. We drove around the area and noticed a St. Modwen sign with “Space To Let” on Trident Business Park. We’ve had a very good relationship with St. Modwen ever since. They are friendly, practical and perhaps a little bit more professional now than they used to be! When we first came here, we shared an office with St. Modwen’s administration staff. Their Managing Director used to come up here for his weekly meetings. Now I see St. Modwen as a big company with developments all over the country. We came to the Park with five employees and we now have 35. Not only do we have office space, we also have a workshop and an admin office in one of the units on the other side of the estate. When we first came here there were a lot of older buildings which have since all been pulled down and the site has been developed to what it is now. We can speak to St. Modwen whenever we like. They are very hands on and if we have a problem we can just walk over and have a chat with them and they attend to it. They are very friendly and we have an excellent working relationship with them. We could be in the process of looking for something bigger to accommodate us all, because we are now split in different units, and ultimately we would like to combine a place where we can be all in one. We would always go to St. Modwen as our landlord. We have had a great service from them for the last 25 years, and long may it reign!


ess Park

Trident Busin


In good company

Trentham Ga

rden festiva


CONTRACTOR Paul Dunning Managing Director Prosurv Consult Ltd I’m a lad from Stoke-on-Trent and I’ve been aware of St. Modwen since 1986 when they first took over the Garden Festival Park at Trentham, which is local to our office.

“I’ve worked with them for 20 years now and the most impressive thing is their ability to be flexible to the market.”

I’ve worked with them for 20 years now and the most impressive thing is their ability to be flexible to the market. For example, in the last few years they’ve developed the house-building arm, which has been as a direct consequence of the market’s demands. We have an excellent relationship with St. Modwen on all levels and they extend that relationship to all suppliers and contractors alike. Contractors like working for them because of their strong values, and also they know that they are going to get paid properly (which is very important in this day and age!). We’ve continued to work with them, because as St. Modwen has evolved over time, we’ve evolved with them. We initially started out working with them on one or two sites locally and as St. Modwen has progressed and grown, we’ve grown to service their needs. The St. Modwen business model has remained the same for the last 20 years. The rental income will cover their overhead, which is very impressive, especially considering the number of recessions we’ve been through and it’s one of their core values and they never deviate from that, and that is particularly impressive. We’ve had a consistently good relationship over the course of 20 years. They’ve expanded tremendously and the schemes that we’ve been involved with them have grown and grown to multi-million pound schemes throughout the country. We were set up on the back of St. Modwen support, that’s what Prosurv was born out of so we do owe them a lot and I see it continuing for another 30 years and beyond.




The Trentham Estate



The gardens On the surface, The Trentham Estate and Gardens may not seem the most likely project to sit amongst St. Modwen’s development portfolio. However, this beautifully-restored estate, nestling on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, is a strong representation of the Company’s 30-year approach to regeneration and development. “It was a former Estate and Park in a severe state of decline and disrepair, but we saw the opportunity, that’s what St. Modwen does” says Mike Herbert, regional director for St. Modwen, who acquired the site from British Coal in September 1996. Since then, this long-term project has never shied away from challenges, has embraced change and continues to be refreshed with innovative and creative ideas that have resulted in it being voted ‘BBC Countryfile’s Garden of The Year…’ The Estate, originally a monastery dissolved by Henry VIII in 1537, was sold twice before being bought in 1540 by the family that became the Dukes of Sutherland. The family lavished their wealth on the Estate with many bold transformations. Rev. George Plaxton, Charles Bridgeman, Henry Holland and Charles Heathcote Tatham all worked at Trentham. However, what visitors largely see today are the significant works of Capability Brown’s creation of the Lake and remodelling the Park (1760 – 80) and Charles Barry’s Italian Gardens and new Hall (1830s & 40s). The Victorian era took its toll on the Estate. Rapidly expanding Stoke-on-Trent potteries resulted in waste from factories and houses dumped into the River Trent which runs through the Estate. In 1872 Gardener’s Chronicle reported that the River is “the foulest blot on Trentham... a foul slimy sewer, brim-full of the impurities of every dirty crowded town that hogs its banks”. It was so bad that the Duke couldn’t bear to live there, he offered the Hall and gardens to the local authority for £1 but this was turned down. So the Duke had Trentham Hall demolished in 1911. The Sutherlands then opened the Estate in the 1920s as “Trentham Gardens Pleasure Park” building a grand dance hall, lido and many attractions. It became the place to go, the “Playground of the Potteries”. But it started to


lose popularity in the 1970’s and the Sutherlands sold the Estate in 1979. It subsequently changed hands twice, falling into further and more decline until acquired by St. Modwen in 1996 in a very sorry state. It is difficult to imagine this vast Estate, once a grand and much celebrated place to visit, in such a state of disrepair. It was clear to St. Modwen that the sense of pride once so entrenched in the Estate had to be restored and the best way to achieve this was to do something special. And so the Estate’s transformation began… Mike Herbert, St. Modwen Regional Director, explains: “From a development perspective, the 725 acre Estate presented a great opportunity and a fantastic (daunting) challenge. It’s a Grade II* listed garden, loads of listed structures, green belt and a conservation area, so we knew that whatever we did we had to do it very well. The restoration of the gardens was clearly at the heart. We first had to convince the planners and everyone else that it was a good idea.” Mike Herbert and the team spent 12 months consulting with the planners, many interested parties and residents and discussing master plan options. The planning application was submitted almost a year after purchase and with strong support from the Council was approved in principle in April 1999.



However despite massive local support, such was the significance of the scheme; it was ‘called in’ by the Government for public inquiry. A huge blow to the progress of the Estate’s regeneration, and detailed consent was not achieved until November 2003, over six years after the initial application. “Upon approval, we dived immediately into restoration and redevelopment” continues Mike. “The whole planning issue was whether new development was justified to support the restoration of the Gardens and Park. We had recognised that it had to be one comprehensive plan, delivered over 5-10 years in phases, but always tackling the regeneration and restoration, backed by development.” Employing the talent of top designers was key. Dominic Cole, Tom Stuart-Smith and Piet Oudolf have imprinted the restored Italian Gardens and Grounds with a style and modernity that respects and uses the heritage to create a truly magnificent forward looking Garden. A tried and tested St. Modwen saying is “to under promise and overdeliver”, and in just five years (2003-2008) all the major work of garden restoration had been completed. Mike is often embarrassed by experts and visitors saying that St. Modwen has delivered far in excess of expectations. St. Modwen’s bold and imaginative five year project restoring the fabulous gardens boasted 80,000 perennials in over 400 different varieties, and 70 flower beds in the Italian Garden alone. Not forgetting the statue of Perseus and Medusa, one of the most impressive bronzes in the UK (a copy of Benvenuto Cellini’s original in Florence commissioned by the 2nd Duke in 1840) beautifully restored to original condition. This wonderful statue presides over the gardens


and in 2012 featured in the Royal Academy of Art’s Bronze exhibition. Mike continues; “The most important milestone for the Garden was employing Tom Stuart-Smith who advised that we should reflect the Estate’s history but looking forwards, not back. Through the ages each generation of the Sutherland family did something bold and new, we have done the same”. Mike is often heard to say “we used the history to move forwards.” This approach has secured the Garden countless other accolades. A gold medal at Chelsea Flower Show in 2005 to celebrate the start, the European Garden Heritage Network award for best Historic Park restoration 2010, BBC Countryfile Magazine Garden of the Year 2014-5 and more. The Estate’s commerciality was also critical to its ongoing success and securing the letting of the 65,000 sq ft Garden Centre in 2003 was the catalyst to build the Trentham Shopping Village over three phases in 2004-2006. It has now expanded to 60 shops, cafes and restaurants and a Premier Inn Hotel. A very popular and alternative shopping destination, it has maintained full occupancy. Adds Mike: “We often say ‘you go to Trentham to buy something you didn’t know you wanted!’” In addition to its commercial success and the bountiful beauty of the gardens, the restored Trentham does not shy away from the quirky. “There isn’t one sign telling people to keep off the grass, grass is definitely for walking on or rolling down for those young at heart. We love children to run around and have fun – adults too. Why shouldn’t they?”

The Estate is home to 15 ethereal fairy sculptures, all designed by a local artist



We never stand still, we are in the middle of a five to seven year programme restoring the woodlands, park and lake whilst enhancing the ecology.

With advice like that how could one do anything but embrace what the gardens have to offer. But there’s more; not least the barefoot walk that invites people to ‘get naked from the knees down and tantalise [their] toes with an array of testing textures including mud, bark, babbling streams, grass and pebbles’. Trentham is not afraid of the bizarre; it is home to 15 ethereal fairy sculptures around the gardens and lake and giant dandelion sculptures, all designed by a local artist, Robin Wight, diving otters carved into a storm damaged oak by renowned sculptor, Andy Burgess, and much more. Perhaps the most unusual is the 60 acre Trentham Monkey Forest, home to over 140 barbary macaques, introduced by the French family that run it from their sanctuaries in Europe. It is unique with no fence between the human visitors and the monkeys, a truly enthralling experience. An extensive events programme is run throughout the year from summer concerts by the lake, to Christmas carols in the gardens which alone attract over 50,000 annually. No wonder it’s popularity has grown significantly since St. Modwen’s ownership, attracting well over 3.25m visits annually as a whole, including close to 550,000 to the beautifully restored Gardens and Park.


But in St. Modwen’s 30th year and the tercentenary of Capability Brown what is next for Trentham? Mike continues: “We never stand still, we are in the middle of a five to seven year programme restoring the woodlands, park and lake whilst enhancing the ecology.”

“In homage to Capability Brown’s legacy, we’re revealing his landscape, recreating its essence but in a modern way. We’ve chosen top designer, Nigel Dunnett, famous for the 2012 Olympic Park, to introduce a bold and imaginative interpretation of the Brownian landscape. Wild flower meadows are the start and whole areas around the Lake are being planted over the coming years.” Where next? Mike responds “The final phase of the Shopping Village will start this year and Trentham will always look forward, it has changed so much over many generations, we are just continuing the theme. We have a brilliant team and will continue to stretch the boundaries of what Trentham can offer. Adopting a never say never approach has consistently presented a legacy of which St. Modwen can be proud.” It is a joy to be able to give so much pleasure to so many visitors and having created a sustainable viable future we look forward with confidence. Trentham is now more loved than it ever was: a classic example of a long-term and innovative regeneration project that exudes creativity and commitment from the core.

The Capability Brown tercentenary commemorative wild flower meadow, by Nigel Dunnett famous for the 2012 Olympic Park



Trentham La

kes, Stoke-

In good company CONSULTANT Andrew Catmur Director Andrew Catmur Engineering Ltd

“Over many years they have acquired land that others saw no value in or considered too risky. They are now successfully redeveloping that land to provide homes and businesses. They have a long-term vision combined with the strength of purpose to deliver.”

I first started working with St. Modwen on the Trentham Lakes project on 13 August 1995. I have now worked on over 100 projects with them both in Halcrow and at Rodgers Leask. I adore the problem solving that is required to deliver their sites. Every site is different and each one throws up new challenges, often ones that require innovative and elegant engineering solutions that cross many disciplines. St. Modwen projects are like piecing together a complex jigsaw puzzle and the harder they are the more one enjoys it when all the pieces are finally in place. I have had a relationship of absolute trust with St. Modwen built up over many years working together on a very wide range of projects. If things go wrong on a project, as sometimes they do, the team all roll up their sleeves and solve the problem together to move the project on. When you are constantly pushing boundaries issues will arise and the positive attitude that is exhibited is what distinguishes a great company from a good company. St. Modwen’s projects are often large and complex and redevelopment takes many years in many phases. This requires all the team to think long-term with clear roles. St. Modwen really values the commitment, passion, innovation, loyalty and hard work that their consultants bring to the table. St. Modwen has very strong leadership, clear business direction from a core of highly experienced staff with the minimum of internal politics. This ensures that the St. Modwen team and the wider professional team remain focussed on their long-term goals. Over many years they have acquired land that others saw no value in or considered too risky. They are now successfully redeveloping that land to provide homes and businesses. They have a long-term vision combined with the strength of purpose to deliver.





dge, Birming

llege, Longbri

Bournville Co

In good company POLITICIAN Richard Burden MP for Birmingham Northfield For a hundred years, Longbridge was not only a byword for car making – one of the defining industries of the twentieth century but it has also been central to the identity of this part of Birmingham; part of its culture and the way people thought about themselves and their communities.

“It is good to have them as partners on Longbridge’s climb into the future.”

So the collapse of the former MG Rover plant in 2005 was a huge blow, not only to the economy but to the self-confidence of local people. Therefore redeveloping the site has been about rebuilding an identity and a community’s self-confidence as much as the massive physical scale of the challenge involved. St. Modwen’s and St. Modwen Homes’ – role in taking this forward has been and remains pivotal, from the reclamation of acres upon acres of industrial land to the construction of new homes, a town centre and the attraction of new businesses. The Company has also been pivotal in proactively engaging with local people both directly and through their representatives. There is still a long way to go until the project is complete but it is important to recognise how much St. Modwen has contributed. It is good to have them as partners on Longbridge’s climb into the future.



St. Andrew’s Park, Uxbridge “Politicians are in their hard hats. Fighting talk about Britain’s lack of housing is in the air. The question is where to build them. A solution to part of this problem can be found in one of the 38 former RAF bases that have closed in the last 20 years.” wrote Fred Redwood in the Daily Mail, October 2015. “St. Modwen is building on these bases countrywide …and one of its developments is on the site of RAF Uxbridge in West London.” 60

The challenge for regeneration and remediation was of a very different nature at the site of the former RAF base in the Borough of Hillingdon. Not only was a new, more inclusive greener future envisaged but also the historic past had to be respected and retained. “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” Winston Churchill’s memorable words as he stood in RAF Uxbridge in 1940 at the heart of the control centre for the pivotal Battle of Britain in World War II. Taking those words as inspiration, a vision respecting the milestones of the past but looking forward to a wider more open future for the many was demanded of St. Modwen and its partner VINCI.



Located on the outskirts of Uxbridge Town Centre, the site of the former RAF base was built around Hillingdon House whose history dates back to 1717. The original building was burnt down and in its place the current Grade II listed house was erected in 1844. In World War I it became a military hospital and by the end of the war a Royal Air Force Station had been set up in the grounds. In World War II RAF Uxbridge played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain. The underground bunker, built on the site in a matter of months is itself an engineering feat, and was the home of Fighter Command No.11 Group from 1939. It was central to the operation of the successful air battle that was directed from the bunker and it remained operational until 1958. Hillingdon House also continued as a central part of RAF Uxbridge until the station formally closed on 31 March 2010, ending 95 years of continuous military service. Yet the closing of one chapter was the catalyst to the opening of a new, more public and community focused future.


VSM, a partnership between St. Modwen and VINCI, was appointed by the MoD in 2006 as the principal contractor for ‘project MoDEL’. This project involved the relocation of six London-based MoD units from former RAF sites in Hillingdon (Eastcote, Uxbridge and West Ruislip), Harrow (Bentley Priory) and Barnet (Inglis Barracks in Mill Hill) to an integrated site at RAF Northolt. VSM was charged with delivering the new MoD facilities at RAF Northolt as well as securing planning consent for six redundant sites available for disposal and development for residential, commercial and community uses. VSM has retained the sites at both Uxbridge and Mill Hill and is now transforming both into new, residential-led mixed-use communities.



When I first saw the military base with its hangars and sheds the main element that struck me was the magnificent park which runs right through it.

The vision also includes a 40 acre public park, from which the site takes its name, and is situated alongside the River Pinn. It is the largest new public park in Greater London. Planning consent was obtained at the start of 2010 and work started to transform the former military base with a targeted project timescale of 10 years. 23 acres of land were committed to a Persimmon St. Modwen Joint Venture for the development of circa 470 homes with construction starting in December of 2011. To date 275 homes are occupied and a further 100 are due to complete in 2016. The new primary school, known as the John Locke Academy, opened in September 2014 and will eventually welcome 720 pupils at the two level entry foundation school with playgrounds that merge into the open parklands. A detailed planning application will deliver some 120,000 sq ft of office space on the site. The new offices will create around 1,000 jobs and could be delivered as early as 2018.


Work on the Town Centre extension will start shortly, with the first phase including 249 apartments which St. Modwen will deliver itself with a significant proportion becoming part of its new Private Rented Sector business. The new landscaped park will come to fruition this year with 167 new trees planted and more than 4,870 cubic metres of top soil moved with almost 20 acres seeded. In the meantime St. Modwen is helping to maintain the heritage having refurbished the visitor centre in the bunker following extensive flood damage in 2014. Tim Seddon Regional Director at St. Modwen, is full of praise for the few who are delivering so much for the many. “When I first saw the military base with its hangars and sheds the main element that struck me was the magnificent park which runs right through it that had never been accessible by the public. The vision of the architects and the efforts of our development team have created a regeneration model and a new community that will have a lasting impact.”

A masterplan vision was developed which encompassed...

1,340 residential units of varying scale and mixed tenure

200,000 sq ft of commercial office and retail space

a new primary school

a museum

90 bed hotel and a care home

greater London’s largest new public park

67 65


Hard hats off!

Steve Burke, Group construction director and main board member, joined St. Modwen over 20 years ago. Born and bred in Burton upon Trent, St. Modwen’s heartland, he even attended St. Modwen Primary School where he was captain of the football team until the age of 11. Clearly destined to work at the business, over the last 20 years Steve has really seen it all: from shipping monkeys from Germany to Stoke-on-Trent, attempting the Brighton Pier regeneration and transforming acres of former oil refinery land into thriving new communities. Here he illuminates on life at St. Modwen, this company of real character where nobody gets bored‌ 66



“It’s the variety and type of project that makes working at St. Modwen exciting, I have always had the sense that with every project we are on the edge of something brilliant. I’ve worked on hundreds of different schemes over the years, most of them delivered, some not, all of them fascinating in their own way. Whatever the project, it’s blatantly apparent that we don’t see problems, we solve them”. A true problem solver himself, Steve has worked on some exceptionally complicated stuff from which most people would run a mile. Projects like the £90m regeneration of Wembley Central: once a tired 1960s shopping centre, situated above a live mainline station, this project involved complicated negotiations with Network Rail and an extremely difficult site assembly, and most of it built on springs. Delivered during the recession this prominent town centre development now comprises a hotel, 120,000 sq ft of new retail, 273 apartments, a new public square and a refurbished and upgraded tube and train station. Another example is the regeneration of the former BP Llandarcy oil refinery in South Wales which St. Modwen acquired in 2008 after a competitive, four year bid process overseen by BP, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and the Princes Foundation for Building Community. “BP was adamant that they wanted to leave a positive legacy


Steve says:

for South Wales. Having witnessed our clean-up skills on other UK brownfield sites, BP recognised us as being the best to remove their risk. It wasn’t an easy job but after an intense clean-up period of four years we got there and are now making good progress with delivering a new community for South Wales.”

Some would say that St. Modwen is almost heroic in what it sets out to achieve but Steve takes a more pragmatic approach: “Where there is muck there is money. Stan Clarke always swore by the fact that we acquired ‘cheap, well-located, rubbish’ and then we turned it into something truly amazing. We do it because we have the in-house capability to take on these projects and the vision to see beyond what others may consider frightening. “There is a specific type of person that joins St. Modwen, new recruits learn that they need to visualise a completed scheme from the very start but personality also accounts for a lot in this business. We all work hard, we all remain flexible in our approach and we all relish a challenge. We are problem solvers and we recognise what makes a prime asset to spark quality regeneration.” So with such foresight and imagination, Steve seems very well qualified to identify what makes a truly great site. In his view there are a few factors to take into

consideration: “Size, profile, partners, location and then the scheme itself” he says. “The Bay Campus for Swansea University is the greatest project we’ve done in my view. The first phase alone was one million sq ft and took just two years to complete. When it opened its doors to 5,000 students in September 2015 and became a fully functioning asset for South Wales it was breath taking to watch first hand and a very proud moment when you realise that regeneration is making a real and true difference to people’s lives.” Steve continues: “There have been many other great projects that I’ve worked on over the years, ranging from a 630,000 sq ft shed for Screwfix in Stoke-on-Trent to a 430,000 sq ft flagship distribution warehouse for Adidas in Manchester. However, everything considered, perhaps the most high profile project has been building the Britannia Stadium for Stoke City football club in 1996. “I am a keen football supporter so to complete a football stadium in less than 50 weeks, ready for the first game of the season, was incredible and at the time with a contract value of £13.6m, it was St. Modwen’s biggest ever. “I have clear recollections of the first football match there. The tarmac was still being laid in the car park in the afternoon. At 3pm, the Chief of Police was there holding a safety

Clockwise from top: remediation at the former Llandarcy site, now home to Coed Darcy a new community for South Wales; The Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent; The Bay Campus, Swansea University and new apartments at Wembley Central, London



It’s the variety and type of project that makes working at St. Modwen exciting, I always have the sense that with every project we are on the edge of something brilliant.

certificate, permitting the 7pm match to kick off. There were over 500 men moving grass and clearing seats as the entrance party walked into reception. It was hectic but good fun. At one point in the match, I remember looking up and noticing drips coming through the ceiling, it was beer from a leaky pipe. It was fixed soon after and everyone took it in good spirit”. And 20 years later, the Britannia Stadium (recently renamed Bet 365 Stadium) is striking lucrative sponsorship deals and is standing proud, a sign of a great building. But what about those projects that never happened? Steve highlights a few of the more interesting ventures from which the company has managed to escape: “In 2000, we took over the scheme from Chris Eubank with proposals to regenerate the famous Brighton Pier. This was the only Grade I listed pier in the country and having been appointed by the West Pier Trust and English Heritage, we worked up a £30m scheme and secured planning consent to return it to its former glory. “Needless to say the scheme was complicated and involved lifting up the entire structure to avoid rising sea levels which would have seen us drilling new piles into the seabed. We were all set to go and were in the middle of appointing a Dutch contractor when the adjacent pier threw their toys out of the pram and the project was put


on hold. By 2002 the pier started to collapse, in 2003 there was a fire and soon after that it collapsed and disappeared into the sea. It was probably for the best really.” The link to the pier came as a result of Sir Stanley Clarke running and owning Brighton racecourse through his side venture Northern Racing. This was one of nine racecourses across the country. But that is an entirely different story… Another project that didn’t quite make it into the annals of St. Modwen’s history was moving the Twin Towers at Wembley to the banks of the River Mersey. Being complicated it was no surprise that St. Modwen was chosen to carry it out. Steve explains: “We produced a detailed method statement that would see the Towers cut up like petals and then moved on articulated lorries from Wembley to Widnes. Disappointingly the Towers were made of thin concrete and therefore impossible to move in this way.” A late complication in the contract saw St. Modwen walking away from the project but not without some interesting memories: Steve recalls that the Towers were decorated on the inside with all the old pennants from all the football cup finals. No one knows what happened to them. Of the projects that never happened the last to mention is the regeneration of Dudley Zoo. St. Modwen fleshed out plans to redevelop

the zoo and create development land, involving moving the animals into a temporary structure, building the new zoo and then moving the animals back. Some say that this project was a good grounding for some of those in the Company’s development pipeline today… Steve’s relationship with wild animals doesn’t stop at Dudley Zoo. The delivery of the Trentham Estate and Gardens in Stokeon-Trent is a story in itself (see p.50 to 57) but perhaps the most unusual facet of this £100m regeneration project is the creation of Trentham Monkey Forest. Today, the Monkey Forest is still completely unique to the UK; with 140 Barbary macaques living freely within 60 acres of beautiful woodland. The idea originated in 1969 when Baron Gilbert de Turckheim set up a series of monkey parks in France and Germany. But how did the monkeys end up in Trentham? Steve explains: “Mike Herbert is the Regional Director behind the Trentham Estate. In 1996 he had been approached via our German partner Willi Rietz who knew the Baron to create the monkey park there. Deeming this as a good idea he agreed and by 2005, two groups of barbary macaques from the existing European parks were re-homed at the Estate.

Clockwise from top: two of the 140 barbary macaque monkeys at the Trentham Estate; Brighton Pier and the felling of the famous Goodyear tower in Wolverhampton to make way for a £150m new community

ww“Selecting the monkeys was perhaps the most bizarre moment of my time at St. Modwen. Having spent a lot of time deciding on which monkeys he was going to house, Mike then put his back out which saw me having to accompany him to Germany to finalise the process. “We flew to Strasbourg to visit the park in Kintzheim, France. We were then driven (at high speed) to the park at Salem, Germany, over 100 miles, by Guillaume de Turckheim in a tiny Peugeot.” “When we arrived in Germany, Mike helped me to identify those monkeys he’d selected. It was as though he was greeting long lost friends. Once we’d made the selection, we headed back in the car to the UK – no overnight stop, just a straight run there and back.” So what became of the monkeys? Steve continues: “They were shipped back in relative luxury compared to our journey. Not quite strapped into their seatbelts and flown to the UK but transported safely by ship and then up to Stoke-on-Trent. The

monkey park has now been going very successfully for 11 years and the family there is thriving – as is Mike...” Looking back in the company’s 30th year, what was Steve’s first impression of the business and how has it changed in his 20+ year career at St. Modwen. “When I first joined in 1995 the business was so small it comprised just a handful of people, including Mike Timmins who, with a 26 year track record, is the Company’s longest-serving employee. “When emails were introduced to the business, we had one computer. The messages would be printed off by one of the secretaries, we then hand wrote our responses which would be typed up and presented to Anthony Glossop, the Chief Executive. He used to sit in the back of his car and check them all before they were finally sent out. It wasn’t unlike being at school.

projects. The land bank stands at over 6,000 acres and continues to grow. There are some people in the business I don’t even recognise. Times really do change but for the best. The company has benefitted from 30 years of experience in the business and I’m proud to still be part of it.” With such a rich history and vast array of projects to boot, it is no wonder that St. Modwen has grown to become the UK’s leader in regeneration. And what for the future? The avid football fan finishes with the inevitable: “The answer should be HS2 but I think Barcelona’s new football stadium has to top it.” Watch this space…

“Now the company has grown to over 375 people, across seven regional offices and working on over 100 development



It’s all academic St. Modwen’s founder, Sir Stanley Clarke, did not have an upbringing where he could pursue a full education. His father Victor, a brewery worker, was an invalid suffering from tuberculosis, while his mother Mabel was employed as a maid at the local manor house, so he took his very first job at the local butcher to help support his family when he was only nine years old. At 16 he had to leave Burton Technical High School to start work and so embarked on a plumbing apprenticeship.

With this at its core, St. Modwen has continued to promote opportunities for education. It has fostered strong relationships with the education sector. The major regeneration projects and substantial residential schemes that are at the core of the company feature strong community principles, especially in delivering schools, colleges and more recently a university campus.


The Bay Campus for Swansea University



We’re scholarly We have built

3 Colleges

1 University

Burton College, Burton Bournville College, Longbridge Warwickshire College, Rugby

Bay Campus, Swansea

3 Schools

Halesowen School The John Locke Academy, Uxbridge Rykneld Primary School, Burton upon Trent

We will be building

So far, there are 13 more schools in the pipeline: Meon Vale, Warwickshire – primary school Millbrook Park, Mill Hill – primary school Hilton, Derbyshire – primary school Uttoxeter, Staffordshire – primary school Coed Darcy, South Wales – three primary schools Coed Darcy, South Wales – one secondary school Glan Llyn, Newport, South Wales – two primary schools Pye Green, Staffordshire – primary school Locking Parklands, Weston-super-Mare - primary school Copthorne, West Sussex – primary school


Students from the Wavell School taking part in the St. Modwen photography competition

Children enjoying the outdoors at the John Locke Academy at St. Andrew’s Park, Uxbridge

Ivor Goodsite Health & Safety children’s workshop at the Meon Vale development in Warwickshire

Yet, it’s not just about building, there’s a broader relationship in how St. Modwen engages with schools across the country. That’s not only true of the ones it’s built but also existing schools in communities touched by St. Modwen’s projects. From creating the right environment for younger children by adopting the Considerate Constructor’s ‘Ivor Goodsite’ programme of health and safety lessons to nurturing sustainability with older students through talks, we believe in education and instilling positive ideas. The regional offices and the different divisions have forged their own strong links. St. Modwen Homes provides careers advice, work experience, apprenticeship opportunities and a programme of talks and site visits for Halesowen and Burton Colleges. In our anniversary year we are reaching out to schools again and have launched a national schools photography competition to mark the Company’s 30th year. The competition is supported by a number of organisations and experts in urban design, architecture, education and photography, including The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community. Entitled ‘Making Places’ as a reflection of St. Modwen’s ultimate goal, the competition is open to 30 secondary schools across England and Wales. It asks GCSE students to capture the theme of placemaking through photography. In doing so, students will explore the many facets of what community, architecture and urban design means to them. The aim is to inspire, excite and support the next generation on a subject matter that impacts everybody and at the same time to enhance students’ photographic skills through access to industry experts.



In good company

rsity campus

Swansea Unive

CLIENT Professor Iwan Davies Pro-Vice Chancellor Swansea University Swansea University, Bay Campus has been recognised as among the most ambitious projects in the UK higher education sector for decades. Its realisation, in partnership with St. Modwen, heralds a new era and new status for Swansea University which is transforming into a global exemplar of a 21st century university and one that promotes and champions the student experience.

“St. Modwen has been fundamental in adopting this vision and enabling the University to deliver the first stage of this ambitious development on time and on budget.”


St. Modwen has been fundamental in adopting this vision and enabling the University to deliver the first stage of this ambitious development on time and on budget. This has been achieved through the exceptional and dedicated project management of St. Modwen’s senior team and the relationship with the construction supply chain that they have managed throughout the process. In addition, St. Modwen has respected the University’s policy in promoting regional opportunities wherever that is possible. As a result, 170 contracts were awarded within Wales and almost 7,000 jobs during the 26-month construction period.



In good company LAWYER Peter Thorne Partner Gowling WLG (formerly Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co.) Clarke St. Modwen was already a client of Wragge & Co when I joined in 1985 and was the first client with whom I started to work. When David Askin retired from Wragge & Co 14 years ago I became client partner responsible for the relationship. However, Wragge & Co’s involvement with St. Modwen has its roots in the 1970s.

“The things that impress me most about St. Modwen is first the company’s ‘can do’ attitude. They strive to find solutions to issues.”

The things that impress me most about St. Modwen is first the company’s ‘can do’ attitude. They strive to find solutions to issues. Second is their short decision making process. The management are a closely knit team who are both accessible and responsive. As a consequence they are able to make decisions quickly in contrast to many businesses of comparable size. They have a consistent ability to maximise returns from all projects through a combination of comprehensive analysis of all aspects and thorough project and asset management. The expertise and skill of their construction team exemplifies this. They have always shown a willingness to diversify into sectors of the market in which strong growth is forecast - housing and PRS being relatively recent examples. St. Modwen operates with complete integrity. It is clear to me throughout my dealings that this is one of their core values for which they are widely respected. They also listen to other’s points of view and genuinely seek to understand and address them. They treat us like one of them - a colleague. One memorable comment I recall was made by Bill Oliver when I arrived at a meeting and someone commented that “the lawyers have arrived” to which Bill replied “that’s not the lawyers, that’s Peter”. I value this inclusion highly. I have learnt a lot from working as part of their team, addressing the issues we’ve faced over the years. St. Modwen has been one of our most important clients for 40 years. Our real estate development practice began with work for St. Modwen and our practice has continued to develop and grow through its work with St. Modwen. I hope this highly valued relationship will continue to develop long into the future.




Reflections from Bill Oliver



Reflections on the last 30 years from Bill Oliver By Peter Bill, journalist and former editor of Estates Gazette

Bill Oliver the retiring Chief Executive needs to be alert at the start of his 26-mile commute to Longbridge. The 20 acres of land surrounding his Warwickshire farmhouse are leased to the local agricultural college. Sheep roam freely on occasions. But from November 30th, 2016 the regular drive up the M40 and along the M42 to the HQ of St. Modwen will cease. The Sunderland-born accountant will retire that day, aged 60, after sixteen years with St. Modwen, twelve as Chief Executive. Two weeks in the Caribbean along with wife Janet are booked for January. No three-month world cruise then? “No, I will have plenty of other things to do.” The Leicester Tigers fan will have time to do more than watch rugby. Bill and Janet’s three daughters have left the farm. Heather, 31, is a criminal barrister at Gray’s Inn, once hired to oppose Abu Hamza’s appeal against extradition to the USA on terrorism charges. Ruth, 29, is a primary school teacher. Lucy, 23, worked in the constituency office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond. Some non-executive directorships are in Bill’s hopper, to use St. Modwen-speak. Plus, he already sits on the Government’s Regeneration Investment Organisation (RIO) which channels foreign capital into UK projects. A post that will no doubt come up in chats with his successor, Mark Allan, who ran The Unite Group Plc for 10 very successful years and joins on 1st November 2016. To outsiders there is a mystery at this heart of England company. How come a business which takes on projects where others fear to tread has been so successful over 30


years? Bill uses the words “entrepreneurial, tenacious and fun” to describe the culture of a company named after a female Irish saint. Down to earth, and do-what-we promise seem worth adding as an outsider. Bill trained as an accountant, working for Alfred McAlpine, Barratt and the Rutland Group before becoming Finance Director for the colourful Joey Esfandi at Dwyer Estates in 1993. He joined St. Modwen from Dwyer in 2000 as Finance Director. So, by his numbers we shall judge him. Profits at the millennium were £22m, generated from assets worth £203m. By the time Bill took over as Chief Executive from Anthony Glossop in 2004 profits were £40m and the portfolio was worth £419m. Click on 11 years. In 2015 one of those “fear to tread” projects came good. Profit almost doubled over 2014 to a record £258m, partly due to a £128m valuation gain on New Covent Garden. At November 2015 St. Modwen’s assets stood at £1.7 billion, four times the 2004 figure. Trading profits stood at £67m. Bill was able to report “significant momentum has been created... we anticipate the creation of further value as we continue to invest in and regenerate areas nationwide”.


“we anticipate the creation of further value as we continue to invest in and regenerate areas nationwide.”

What is extraordinary to trouble-seekers, like me, is how well St. Modwen charted the deepest property recession in modern history. Between June 2007 and June 2009 real estate values fell 45%. Most developers bust their banking covenants. A few big house builders teetered close to bankruptcy. St. Modwen then had a 5,000-acre land ‘hopper’. A loss of £51m was declared in 2008, as asset values fell. Just over £100m was lost in 2009 for the same reason. But trading profits of £8m were squeaked in each of those two years. Over the period £190m of assets were sold and £101m raised by a share sale. “We have experienced some of the worst property market conditions for decades,” said Bill in early 2010. “It is with some relief that we are able to say that we believe that the worst of these conditions are now behind us.” There weren’t many chief executives saying that at the time. “Our share price fell from nearly 700p to 70p. We had to take some hard decisions. But the fundamental strength of the business and sterling work by our staff saw us through, enabling us to take early advantage of the upturn. One of my proudest moments came in February 2015, when the market valued St. Modwen at £1 billion.”



Ground-breaking ceremony at Glan Llyn, a £1bn new community in South Wales


One of my proudest moments came in February 2015, when the market valued St.Modwen at £1 billion.

Bill is a hands-on boss. In the office by 8.00am and never away before 5.30pm. He holds monthly review meetings at each regional office and on every project. Each surveyor is grilled lightly, or, no doubt, otherwise. “It’s an incredible headache for my PA, Marie Aldridge, to organise. But a very worthwhile exercise,” he says. Today the company has 375 employees, with an average length of service of just under five years. Senior planning surveyor Mike Timmins from the Midlands office is the longest serving employee, having started in the summer of 1989. Bravest employee is bearded Regional Director, Mike Herbert who joined in 1990 and runs the The Trentham Estate. “One of the things Sir Stanley Clarke could not stand was beards”, says Bill, referring to the founder of the business who died in 2004 aged 71”. He threatened to sack Mike,” says Bill. “It says much for the business that he is still here.” Sir Stanley’s obituaries described him as a “man of prodigious drive” and his legacy plainly colours St. Modwen.

What made Sir Stanley Clarke tick is the stuff of internal legend. “He wasn’t keen on Geordies either” is all Bill will say. What makes Bill tick? One clue: his favourite writer is Patrick O’Brian, author of the Aubrey-Maturin series. Jack Aubrey is a naval captain, Stephen Maturin, a doctor. The series opens with the Master and Commander book. No prizes which role Bill sees himself playing. To end, another clue - or red herring. Bill’s favourite films are The Shawshank Redemption and Paul. The first is about an immensely patient prisoner with financial expertise, who escapes after 19 years. The second is a comedy about an alien escaping a US air base after many years. Probably best not read too much into these choices.


St. Modwen Properties PLC Park Point 17 High Street Longbridge Birmingham B31 2UQ

St. Modwen 30th Anniversary  
St. Modwen 30th Anniversary