Steve Morgan back in business with £250m warchest after selling most of 34.5% stake in firm he founded.
former Redrow chairman Steve Morgan has set up a land company 18 months after stepping down from the housebuilder he founded.

Harrow Estates, his new company, has £250m to buy brownfield sites and prepare them for development. With most of these, it wants to get planning permission for mixed-use schemes and then to sell the land on to developers. The company may occasionally develop the sites in joint-venture agreements.

Morgan, who is Harrow Estates' chairman, has built up his warchest by selling most of his 34.5% stake in Redrow, which he set up in 1974.

Harrow managing director Mike Riding said the company was in a position to complete deals quickly because of its strong financial position and lack of bureaucracy – it has only five staff at the moment.

He said: "Upon finding a site we can exchange and complete within days, if not hours. There is no board of directors and there are no laborious meetings."

Riding added: "We're buying land at risk without any planning permission in place. More commonly than not, we will buy nastier, contaminated sites ripe for redevelopment."

The company is in talks over about 50 sites, ranging in size from 10 acres to more than 100. It has acquired three plots, one in Leyland, Lancashire, and two more in Manchester.

One of these is 40-acre property near Stockport and the other a 10-acre stretch of brownfield land in Bolton. The company has applied for planning permission for the Leyland and Stockport sites.

Planners at South Ribble council will assess the £40m, 38-acre Leyland scheme in two to three months.

Harrow proposes to replace a derelict factory with 400 homes.

If the scheme goes through the company aims to sell the land for £8m.

Harrow Estates was founded just before Christmas last year. It has remained in the shadows while it negotiated its first land deals, but now intends to expand over the next 12 months and increase the workforce to 20.