50. (48) Fred Pritchard £70m (£65m)
If you could bottle this Staffordshire property developer’s optimism and enthusiasm you’d have an elixir to cure the ills of the credit crunch.
The 66-year-old developer and president of Cannock Chase Chamber of Commerce has been running courses to help other businesses through the downturn. When you’ve been in business as long as Fred Pritchard, you’ve seen recessions come and recessions go, but the “king of Cannock” is still there and fighting, and passing on his experience to others.
He has also launched an ambitious scheme to help fledgling businesses get off the ground. He has created incubator premises at Park Plaza in Hawks Green which allow young entrepreneurs to move in with no long term commitments. The scheme is run by British Business Parks.
Early sign-ups also got a chauffeured trip in James Bond’s Aston Martin Vanquish. Fred Pritchard is an Aston Martin enthusiast and has a big collection.
Nearly 40 years ago Fred Pritchard was developing a new business of his own. Now the Pritchard Group, based in Hednesford with the motto “Onward and Upward”, is spearheading schemes to regenerate land all around Cannock Chase.
He has pumped millions of pounds into the area to restore its flagging fortunes following the demise of the coalmining industry.
More than £200 million worth of regeneration schemes in the Cannock Chase area have become reality, but he’s not stopping there. His latest plans include a shopping centre in Hednesford to be known as The Lightworks. And in Cannock he is building an eight screen cinema with bowling alley, restaurants, car parking, shopping and apartments.
In Rugeley, Pritchard Holdings plans to deliver another shopping complex at Wellington Plaza linked to the council’s regeneration plans for the town.
His plans go beyond the area surrounding Cannock Chase where he was born and bred. He is looking to build a £70 million mixed use scheme on an 11 acre site on the outskirts of Wolverhampton near Junction Two of the M54, and he has approval for a £75 million apartment and office complex on the site of the former St George’s Hospital in Stafford.
Pritchard Developments, and its sister company in the Pritchard Group, Chaseregen plc, own or control more than a million square feet of industrial and commercial floorspace, most of it concentrated around Cannock. The group also includes Pritchard Construction Ltd and Pritchard & Associates Ltd – a design and property management company.
Fred Pritchard is chairman and chief executive of the company, though he is handing over the reins to his son Jonathan who is director of operations.
He takes a major role in the community, supporting projects, schools and charities, and ensuring the preservation and improvement of local canals. He is also a keen amateur historian and collector, golfer and shooter.