The chief executive of Calthorpe Estates, Haydn Cooper, on his passion for making cities more enjoyable places to live and work in… plus his love of fly fishing
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I have always worked in the management and development of urban property for long-term landowners. I studied land management at university and intended to be countryside-focused but switched my attention to cities. I have worked primarily in London, but was also in Shanghai for a year, in sectors including offices, retail, residential, hotels and medical. In London, I was fortunate enough to be the Mayfair director for Grosvenor and was then responsible for the management of Sloane Street, Kings Road and Sloane Square for Cadogan Estates. I also had the privilege to advise the property companies for the Queen and Prince Charles.
IT’S WHAT I DO
I moved to the Midlands in the summer 2020 and am responsible for managing Calthorpe Estates in Edgbaston. We are long-term stewards and custodians of the 1,600-acre mixed-use Calthorpe Estate, a mile from the city centre, and seek to deliver a positive impact through our management and creating thriving communities. It is a hugely exciting opportunity to continue the transformation of this historic family-owned estate and work on its 50-year vision to create thriving communities and a prime destination within Birmingham and the UK.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
My passion is placemaking – the process of making places enjoyable to live or work in, and where you want to visit time and again. It is a constant evolution. My ambition is to accelerate the attractiveness of Edgbaston through enhanced public realm, greater accessibility to new green open spaces and excellent places to live and work in.
Making a visible difference to the parts-of-cities I have been managing, so they can be enjoyed by people. This includes small things (like the appearance of buildings) and large (reinvigorating a high street or building a new café on a public piazza). In addition, there have been a few specific property transactions over the years.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
I have two. First, follow your gut instinct. Progression through a business depends upon decision-making, and making the right decision is often not black and white. For the many that are grey, follow your gut. Second, know that you don’t know it all. Rely upon others who are cleverer and more experienced.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
I moved to Birmingham during lockdown, so I haven’t yet had a chance to see the city in all its bustling glory. However, I love the sense of progress that you get when walking around and seeing the investment in the new Metro, major developments and public areas.
The countryside. Walking with my wife, sons and working cocker spaniel in the lovely Warwickshire countryside on our doorstep, and fly fishing when time permits.