Not many people in the property business are advancing up our Rich List this year, but thanks to a few shrewd investments bought at the right time, Charles Clowes is doing just that.

The 69-year-old Derbyshire entrepreneur bought a 300-acre industrial and distribution portfolio from Wilson Bowden Developments at a very keen £46 million, increasing the value of Clowes Developments overnight.

Clowes Developments made a profit of £6.2 million on sales of £23.5 million in 2007-8, with assets of £7.8million.

A couple of years ago it was rumoured that Charles Clowes was seeking a quiet exit from the property business and had put his Derby-based company up for sale. But market conditions put those plans onto the back burner. In the meantime Clowes Developments, of which Charles Clowes has 100 per cent control, is building up its investment and development portfolio.

Clowes certainly has an impressive portfolio. The company has been assembling a large site in the centre of Derby for the last seven years for a £10 million piazza scheme.

This flagship project involves a new retail development which will transform part of the centre of the town, linking the Strand, Sadler’s Gate and St James Street. The showpiece will be St James Yard – a continental-style shopping piazza.

Clowes Developments also has plans for a 20 acre site around Old Friars Gate, with a mixed residential and retail development. The site requires the sympathetic treatment of Grade II listed buildings.

These sites form just part of Brailsford-based Clowes Developments’ portfolio. The company, established more than 40 years ago, has an impressive record of commercial, retail and residential development. These include industrial parks, industrial land in Corby, Birmingham, Wednesfield, Castle Donnington and the Dove Valley Park in Derbyshire.

Its investment properties include three in central London – in Harley Street, Eaton Place and Edgware Road.

Clowes Homes, from offices in Long Eaton, has residential developments in Burton on Trent, Leicester and Derbyshire.

Charles Clowes is a Derby County supporter and six years ago, when the club was £30 million in debt, he put together a consortium bid, along with former Derby County chairman Stuart Webb. However, he later withdrew from the bidding.