Eric Grove’s Catesby Property Group, with a mixed portfolio of 12,000 or so plots of residential, commercial and mixed use land, is working hard to ride out the slide in property values.

Latest published profits, pre-dating the worst of the recession, showed a 70 per cent upturn to £9 million on sales of £40.4 million, and shareholder funds rose from £8 million to £14.8 million

A big boost to Catesby’s fortunes is Firstpoint – a £200 million business and retail park near the M18 in Doncaster.

Firstpoint, being developed in partnership with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and Yorkshire Forward, is also the new home of Doncaster Chamber and Business Link.

Firstpoint’s development and rapid big-name letting will give Eric Grove, who founded Stratford and London-based Catesby in 1996 and has 50 years experience in house building, a lot of pleasure. At 79 he still takes a keen interest in the development of the company.

Catesby has become a specialist in developing brownfield sites and has established an £80 million joint venture with Bank of Scotland to tackle brownfield sites in London and the south east.

The company is also working with local authorities to provide affordable homes for the elderly and key-workers, and also works in flood alleviation schemes.

Eric Grove – who began his career in the 1950s at Stourport-based Thomas Vale Construction – made his fortune after setting up residential property business Canberra Developments in 1968.

He sold out to housebuilder McAlpine, netting around £40 million in shares.

A former director of Coventry City FC, he now lives in Warwickshire. His other business interests include residential developments in Jersey and a stake in a property investment company.