Ex-Police Inspector takes property development market by force

Catherine Haward, director of Wheatcroft Land, at College Retail Park construction site.

A Leicester-based development company is back on the scene, with its director following in her father’s footsteps and making the firm a force to be reckoned with across the Midlands property market.

Catherine Haward has taken-up the reins of Wheatcroft Land and is determined to grow the development company’s presence in the commercial and retail property sectors.

Four years ago, Catherine was working for Leicestershire Police. She is now in her final year of studying a degree in real estate, running Wheatcroft Land by herself – and being mum to her teenage daughter and son.

The decision to take over Wheatcroft Land was made when her father, Clinton Bourke’s health deteriorated and he was unable to be involved with the company any longer. To ensure her father’s legacy was continued, Catherine made the call to follow in his footsteps and take the plunge to not just keep Wheatcroft Land running as a successful commercial property developer, but also explore new opportunities and expand the company into new markets.

With a head office in the centrally-located city of Leicester, Wheatcroft Land is in a great position to consider potential development sites across the Midlands. Catherine is already building Wheatcroft’s commercial property portfolio, and now looking to venture into the residential property market.

Catherine said: “The Midlands is currently an ideal place to invest. The north/south divide appears to be narrowing and with increased development and regeneration within counties such as Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire, they certainly offer many attractive prospects for residential and commercial development opportunities.”

“House prices within the region are creeping up, and now seems the ideal time to capitalise on the increased confidence by expanding into residential property development. Many people are being priced out of living in the south, and are now choosing to commute to London and surrounding areas, rather than paying higher housing and living costs associated with the south.”

Catherine’s father originally set up Wheatcroft Land in 1989 after previously working as a chartered civil engineer and managing director of Wilson Bowden Plc. His ill health meant he was unable to continue running the company, which he had worked hard to establish as a well reputed Midlands developer.

Catherine continued: “Since taking up my new role, I am pleased to say new projects are already progressing. We are currently developing a site in Lincolnshire, which is now home to a new Co-op store and has plans for the construction of 14 two and three bedroomed homes. In terms of commercial development, construction is now being carried out at a large site in Derby, where Aldi and other national retail brands are set to reside.

“I am also in the process of identifying other potential sites across the East Midlands which offer residential and commercial development opportunities. It’s an exciting time not only for Wheatcroft Land, but the property market in the region, and I am confident we will contribute to the progression of the area by providing much-needed business units and housing.

“There are parts of the UK where the property market is saturated by development – however, the Midlands is now increasingly seen as an attractive investment prospect, where businesses and those looking to purchase a home are choosing to trade from and live to take advantage of lower business rates and living costs.”

Catherine is working hard to build Wheatcroft’s development portfolio and is determined to make her new career a success.

She said: “I want to re-establish and expand Wheatcroft Land to not only meet my own aspirations, but also ensure the hard-work and dedication given to the company by my father is continued. I am honoured to now head-up the family company, and determined to use my new-found property expertise to develop Wheatcroft land and cement its reputation as a leading Midlands developer.”