About us

The company was incorporated and commenced trading in 1982 to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the London market and was originally conceived as a house building company, acquiring land with planning permission.

However, it became apparent that better balance could be achieved between quality design and commerciality if land was acquired without planning permission. We are now a London based property developer specialising in land acquisition, development and sales.

The business is focused on London and the M25 region. The housing market in this region remains driven by the demands of the London market and the area of our greatest knowledge.

Our expert and detailed understanding of planning, construction and market issues helps us make the very best use of every land development opportunity.

Our in-house architects practice creates a dynamic partnership between commercial acumen and design to unlock the hidden value in land. We can transform any brownfield site

Together with experience of resolving planning, technical and legal problems, Goldcrest has the flexibility to react quickly to movements in the market and local planning regimes. Once planning permission has been granted we work with some of the highest quality developers in London to deliver the end development.

The Goldcrest team has purchased over 150 sites, all but one without planning permissions already in place, and were all ‘brownfield land’.

Goldcrest typically targets sites where perceived problems exist – such as planning, conveyance, contamination, technical challenges, railway tunnels, squatters – all of which present the opportunity to be uniquely creative with the overall approach to design and development.

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Executive Team

Michael Collins – Chairman

Michael founded Goldcrest Land in 1982, following extensive experience within direct sales, marketing and property development. Michael devised this unique business model, building a highly motivated and skilled team around him, and has shaped a dynamic and successful organisation.

Goldcrest converted the first office building in the City of London, a development close to the Bank of England and Mansion House, which won an Evening Standard Award. Since then, Goldcrest, led by Michael, has developed over 100 sites, focused in and around Greater London, building out many with great success, but more recently focusing on the early stages of the development cycle – the planning process.


Tim Smith – Deputy Chairman & Finance Director

Tim started his career at Prudential. After stints at Honeywell Control Systems and Grand Met, he moved to Milton Keynes Pressings as Financial Director, subsequently moving to the wider role of Commercial Director. At this time, Tim completed an MBA. He then spent an extended period working overseas with Gildemeister AG, starting in Germany as CFO, then moving on to live and work in the US as President of Sales and Service Business, implementing a rapid reduction in losses and improving trading performance. From the US, Tim moved to Asia as CEO, creating 100% growth as well as being an integral contributor to the establishment of production facilities in China.

Tim joined Goldcrest in 2010 as Finance Director.


Ben Leek –  Managing Director

Ben Leek started his professional career in Estate agency in the highly competitive London market in 2001. The time he spent in different roles including property investment sales led to Ben deciding that the sector of the market he wanted to pursue a career in was land and sites with potential for redevelopment.

Recognising that estate agency alone would not enable him to achieve this he undertook a degree in urban design, planning and management at University College London graduating with honours in 2005.

Joining Goldcrest as graduate in 2005 Ben has for a number of years lead the acquisition and development team and now as Managing Director is responsible for setting and delivering the companies’ strategy, acquisition and profit targets. Ben has successfully worked on some of the most complex development sites in London and has a never ending enthusiasm for identifying difficult sites without planning permission and then working with the wider team to profitably resolve the issues.


Jacqui Macqueen – Design Director

leading the architects practice

Jacqui began her architectural education in Ireland graduating from the CIT with a diploma in Architectural Technology. Following graduation she moved to London where she has worked in architectural practice for over twenty five years.

Jacqui joined Goldcrest in 2006 taking on the role of Design Director leading the architects practice in 2009. She is passionate about the places and spaces in which we live and their ability to shape our experiences and quality of life.

From small scale housing to large scale urban master plans making the best use of space and delighting in its potential continues to spark her imagination. Working with her team to unlock a difficult site, overcoming obstacles, creating the potential for new homes, and seeing them realised continues to be a huge thrill & privilege.


Carolyn Malet de Carteret – HR Development Director

Carolyn started her HR career in logistics with BOC Distribution Services where she also gained her IPD qualifications.  She was then approached by Wincanton Logistics and commenced as Personnel Manager on a brownfield site in north London; here she recruited the site senior management team and had full HR responsibility from start up through to steady state of c.450 employees.  Carolyn then moved onto Shell initially as HR Manager for the UK and European gas businesses.  She later moved into an internal consultancy role for Shell UK where her projects included an overseas relocation of one of the businesses and a business divestment.

Carolyn joined Goldcrest in September 2014 with strategic & operational HR responsibilities and particular emphasis on talent development.

Non-executive Directors

Oona Collins – Non-Executive Director

Oona is an international Senior Executive and Board-Level Coach who specialises in leadership development, and team building for high performance. She has over 20 years’ experience incorporating board level positions in sales and marketing. Oona has worked and lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, Toronto, Sydney, Europe and the USA. Her background gives her a deep understanding of the challenges of motivating teams during times of success and crisis, having targets and delivering on budget, and engaging people so they are motivated and loyal.

She founded Potential Plus in 2001 which is a development, training and coaching consultancy. Oona has been a member of the Goldcrest board since 1992.


Dr Kalthoum Mourad – Non-Executive Director

Dr Mourad is a consultant Radiologist in the NHS having worked at Guy’s Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital, followed by her appointment as Chairman of the Division of Radiology at Newham Hospital. This included responsibilities for the quality standard control as well as applying audit monetary control, forward planning and major purchases.

Since retiring from her post at Newham Health Authority in the end of 1999 she has continued to work as an independent consultant with her working schedule increasing rather than reducing. Dr Mourad has been a director of Goldcrest since 1992.


Gary Channon – Non-Executive Director

Gary brings over 27 years of business and financial services experience. He began his career in 1987 at Nikko Securities Europe within Fixed Income Trading, before joining Goldman Sachs in 1989 within Global Equity Derivative Products Trading. He then joined Nomura International PLC in 1992 as their Head of Equity Derivative Trading before ultimately becoming Nomura International’s Co-Head of Equity and Equity Derivatives Trading, a position he held until he left Nomura to co-found Phoenix Asset Management Partners in 1998 and has managed the Phoenix UK Fund since its launch in the same year. He also manages additional segregated accounts for pension fund clients run on the same strategy as the Phoenix UK Fund.

Gary’s investment approach at Phoenix is long-term, value-based and focused, ideally looking for great businesses run by managers who are competent, honest and who act in the interest of shareholders, companies with strong pricing power, generating an enduring high return on capital. Phoenix have been significant investors in national housebuilders during the past 16 years and this has given Gary a detailed understanding of this sector.

Environmental Statement

We are committed to the protection and enhancement of the built and natural environment and operate in an environmentally responsible manner at all times. Our commitment to the environment is demonstrated in our day to day activities and specifically through the following actions:

• Promotion of brownfield redevelopment. We are involved in bringing disused and redundant urban sites back into use through innovative redevelopment projects. Sites acquired for development may be contaminated through historical industrial activities. We address these problems via strategic site investigation and remediation wherever necessary.

• Wherever possible we seek to deliver sustainable remedial options causing the least impact to the natural environment.

• Utilisation of environmentally sound design methods in development projects, optimising resource utilisation and efficiency at all times.

• Use of sustainable building materials e.g. recycled materials, certified sustainable timbers, energy from renewable sources etc.

• Recycling of office paper is routine and is easily achieved through an effective waste management strategy.

• Office resource consumption is minimised through various activities which we promote. These range from encouraging staff car sharing / use of public transport / cycling to work through to ensuring lights and equipment are turned off at the end of the working day / when not in use.

• We are strongly committed to reducing the impact of our business activities on the environment by undertaking a Greenhouse Gas emissions assessment and taking action in conjunction with the Carbon Neutral Company to achieve carbon neutral status.

• We are also strongly committed to a partnership arrangement with Green Energy Ltd to supply electricity from renewable resources to our new developments and to our Head Office.

We always seek to ensure that the companies we deal with have a similarly high standard of environmental responsibility.

Social Responsibility

Land Requirements

We are looking for development sites which have the potential for comprehensive redevelopment for mixed use residential or student housing, which are:
  • In London and high value home counties
  • Without planning consent
  • Close to public transport
  • Sold on an unconditional basis
Target boroughs: Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark, Greenwich, Ealing, Hounslow, Lewisham, Merton, Kingston, Richmond, Hammersmith & Fulham, Tower Hamlets, Camden and Hackney.

Preferred purchase price of £1m – £5m but larger and smaller deals will be considered on their merits.

We are able to move quickly to buy sites on an unconditional basis with:

  • Legal problems
  • Contamination
  • Planning Refusals
  • Existing Tenancies
  • Technical Issues
We are happy to pay agents’ fees for genuine and effective off market introductions. Please contact us at the contact details below:

Ben Leek
Managing Director
Email: ben.leek@goldcrestland.com
Phone: +44 (0)20 7348 6693

Goldcrest USPs

  • Huge appetite for managing risk – be it planning, technical, contamination, legal or all four
  • We have our own in-house architects practice
  • Undertake all due diligence pre-offer
  • Exchange contracts expeditiously
  • Stand by every offer
  • In-depth internal resources
    • Architect’s practice
    • Technical team
    • Finance team
    • Acquisition and Development team
Our competitive edge has been honed by our experience in bidding for sites at auction where a huge level of preparation takes place between catalogue release and auction date. We draw this experience into every site we make an offer on so that we are able to prepare our bid and contract it in only two weeks.

We undertake such a high level of due diligence that we will only bid on sites for which we are confident successfully obtaining planning permission.

We apply the same governing principles to all tenders, so the price offered is the price paid! We do this – every time – guaranteed.

Due to the fact that we buy many sites in auction, a number of the sites in our portfolio come without an agency relationship.

We need effective and proactive agents to work with us in the sale of our auction portfolio and the introduction of off-market sites.

Contact Us

Contact Info

3 Hurlingham Business Park
Sulivan Road,
London SW6 3DU

Phone: +44 (0)20 7731 7111
Fax: +44 (0)20 7371 7782
Email: ben.leek@goldcrestland.com


Get in touch