This month Country Estates Group celebrates its 50th anniversary. The business, based in Reading has had a hugely successful 50 years, with two of the original staff, Bill Phelps and Gary Smith, still on the Board today. The company, which includes Denton & Gibson and Darcliffe Homes, has grown from a business with five employees and a share capital of £2,000 to a company with net assets in excess of £20 million!
Country Estates builds and manages business parks in southern England providing high quality office and work space for a variety of businesses, large and small. Country Estates Business Parks are located in Aldermaston, Alton, Bristol, Chippenham, Chipping Norton, High Wycombe, Kingsclere, Newbury, Pangbourne, Reading, Reading South and Waterlooville.
Also under the group umbrella is Darcliffe Homes, the local expert in bespoke property development in the Thames Valley corridor and beyond. With a reputation established for exacting standards and unrivalled quality, the company specialises in small to medium scale developments in the most desirable locations. Projects currently under construction include a development of four and five bedroom executive homes in Spencers Wood, Berkshire.
Joint Managing Director Graham Denton comments, “We are very proud that Country Estates has reached such a landmark anniversary. Over the years we have worked on some exciting projects, won numerous awards and met and worked with some talented individuals, many of whom are still involved with the business today.
“The company still has ambitious growth plans, particularly on the residential side where we hope to significantly increase our output over the next five to ten years. On the commercial side, we want to maintain our reputation as one of the UK’s most innovative and flexible Business Park developers. It is an exciting time for the business as a whole and we are looking forward to what the next fifty years may bring.
“To celebrate our milestone, in December we are hosting an evening of entertainment for our staff and business associates at the Hilton Hotel, Reading. It will be a great way to thank them for their hard work and to kick off the Christmas festivities too.”
Company history – key milestones
- The company started life in 1965 as Pam Technical Services and was based in a terraced house in Isleworth. It sold and distributed specialist fixing products and power tools to the construction industry to clients including Taylor Wimpey, British Airways and Foster Wheeler. There were five employees Cedric Mills, Virginia Mills and Delia Phelps and William Phelps and Gary Smith, who both remain on the Board today.
- Around 1970 the business moved to larger premises at Monks Mead House.
- Between 1974 and 1979 the company began a residential development business under the name Country Estates Ltd, with developments completed in Wokingham, Bracknell and Farnham.
- By 1980, Country Estates had moved into commercial development beginning with Albury Close in Reading followed in 1983 by Horseshoe Park in Pangbourne. In 1984, the business acquired Calleva Park in Aldermaston. Business units on Calleva now total over 400,000 square feet and more than 1000 people are employed there.
- Between 1987 and 1992, sites for business parks were acquired in Kingsclere, Chippenham, Newbury, High Wycombe, Bristol, Chipping Norton, Waterlooville and Fourmarks. In all, developments totalled more than ONE MILLION SQUARE FEET of B1 units.
- In 2009 Country Estates Holdings PLC merged with Denton Holdings Group and Gary Smith and Graham Denton became Joint Managing Directors. Graham’s group included ownership of Shrivenham 100 Business Park, jointly owned with Chris Solly. One of Graham’s major projects was building the Diana Memorial at Althorp.
- Included within the Denton Group was Darcliffe Homes Ltd which had previously developed hundreds of homes
- In 2011 the decision was made to begin residential development once again and properties have been built in Reading, Stanton Harcourt, Theale, Cholsey, Abingdon and Rowstock.
- Projects currently under construction include a development of four and five bedroom executive homes in Spencers Wood.