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Commercial property: Cambridge

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Cambridge
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Cambridge clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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At Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, ‘the overall level of service is excellent and the firm is very attentive to clients’ needs’. The firm has a growing national and international reputation for its wide-ranging expertise in real estate matters, though it particularly stands out for its expertise in transport, education, care home and residential projects. Development and regeneration project partner Dominic Morris is ‘knowledgeable in his subject area, timely in his responses and always professional in his approach’. Clare Whitaker is recommended for investment and corporate occupier work and has specific expertise in the hotels and leisure sector, where she acts for a wide range of investors, developers, occupiers and funders. Senior associate Megan D’Souza-Mathew specialises in development and regeneration work for private and public sector clients. Her recent work includes advising on a town centre scheme leisure development and acting for senior living developers on a series of conditional contracts and option agreements for care home and retirement village developments. Associate Jamie Cawthorn ‘has a very detailed and in-depth knowledge of the residential development industry; he can use his experience acting for both buyers and sellers to his clients’ advantage in negotiations’. He focuses on residential and mixed-use development work, regularly acting for national homebuilders. Associates Claire Morgan and Geoff Street are recommended for infrastructure and development work in the transport sector. A key deal for the Cambridge team saw Cawthorn act for the Fairfield Partnership on the £18m sale of a site at Hellingly Green in East Sussex, and on securing planning permission for 460 new dwellings. Richard Birks joined DWF.

A class above many others in the region’, Mills & Reeve LLP’s team is ‘very efficient and knowledgeable, and very good value for money’. Planning partner Beverley Firth oversees a department, which clients rate as ‘10 out of 10 for value and appropriateness of advice’. The firm is a respected national player that handles high-quality work on a regional, national and international level for investors, nationally known developers, strategic landowners, major corporates, and education and health and care providers. Charles Staveley leads the firm's real estate investment group and his clients include institutional pension funds, management houses, property companies and both onshore and offshore investors. Vincenzo Maggio is ‘knowledgeable, responsive and easy to work with’. He focuses on investment work and landlord and tenant matters for a client base that includes Cambridge colleges and pension funds. Michelle Cookson specialises in complex investment and development projects and is ‘highly skilled and a pleasure to work with’. Nick Finlayson-Brown is recommended for advising UK and overseas clients on investment and development projects. Christine de Ferrars Green, who regularly advises Urban&Civic, is ‘hugely knowledgeable and hands-on’. Tim Allsophas very good attention to detail and provides excellent advice’. He has particular expertise in major development projects, joint ventures and real estate finance. Clients also recommend senior associates Rachel Kent (who is ‘an up-and-coming lawyer with good negotiation skills’) and Tom Nash (who ‘never shirks going the extra mile’). The firm’s key deals included advising Brookgate on the multimillion-pound CB4 city centre regeneration project in Cambridge.

At Birketts LLP, ‘the industry knowledge of the key individuals is excellent and the appropriateness of advice is always sound’. Katherine Herbert can ‘clearly see how to unlock potential issues in a swift and practical way’. She leads a team with a national reputation for strategic property matters, and which was strengthened by the arrival of Gavin Acheson, who joined from Farrer & Co and advises on commercial real estare matters for institutional, corporate and private clients. He specialises in the acquisition, funding, asset management and disposal of investment, development and occupational property for prominent UK property investment funds, property companies, endowed charities, livery companies and landed estates. The firm has real strength among its senior associates; standout figures include Nick Pickersgill, for real estate finance matters; Claudia Haisman-Green, who leads on corporate and commercial occupier matters; strategic land specialist Deborah Marshall, whose ‘attention to detail and due diligence are fantastic’; Natalie Biggs, for development work; and Isabel Wightman-Cooper, who handles real estate finance. The firm also hired associate Emma Medina from Freeths LLP; she brings experience in residential and commercial development, property management and landlord and tenant work. Recent work includes acting for Brasenose College, Oxford, on a multimillion-pound promotion agreement for a 500-acre greenbelt site, and assisting Svenska Handelsbanken AB with the refinancing of a multimillion-pound portfolio of six hotels owned by a company in Suffolk.

The team at Hewitsons is ‘extremely thorough and always has experts on tap’. Clients also praise its ‘high-quality work delivered to tight timescales’ and its team of ‘technically strong lawyers who go out of their way to help meet deadlines and help to work out the commercial risks’. The firm maintains a strong track record on major development projects such as Hill Residential’s multimillion-pound scheme at a University of Cambridge development site. It also stands out for its advice to clients such as Turnstone Estates on large and complex projects in the leisure and residential sectors. Its team also has a track record on strategic land deals, and regularly acts for life sciences companies, Oxford and Cambridge colleges and other significant clients in the education and charity sectors. James Simpson leads the Cambridge real estate team and regularly advises on investment and development deals, pre-let agreements, option agreements, property funding and leasehold matters. Strategic land and development specialist Martin Smith and senior associate Ceri Riddellprovide invaluable support in complex matters; they are thorough and yet still act in a timely manner’. Also recommended are Graeme Sampson, for his work on development, investment and landlord and tenant matters, and the ‘knowledgeable, practical, calm and constructiveSusanne Hinde and associate Michael Russell. The team acted for Howard Lewisham on the refinancing, redevelopment and letting of a site in Lewisham, which included construction documentation for new industrial units. It also advised key client the Homes and Communities Agency on development projects including the grant of a building lease to Harlow Rugby Club for the construction of a new sports facility.

Ashtons Legal is ‘very strong and has good technical knowledge that underpins a responsive and personal service’. The firm has a strong reputation across the region for residential, commercial and mixed-use development projects, which is reflected in a diverse client base that includes WN Developments Ltd and Bennett Homes. Charles Webb has more than 30 years’ experience in all aspects of commercial property work and is highly praised for his work for developers. He regularly advises on the acquisition and assembly of sites for development in Cambridge and further afield in East Anglia. ‘Proactive and widely experienced dealmaker’ Magnus McManus is ‘extremely well regarded amongst the academic community’ and acts for several Cambridge colleges, owner-occupiers, retailers and developers. Associate Charlotte Vallins is also recommended for her commercial landlord and tenant work. The firm’s recent highlights include acting for Abel Homes on the £6m acquisition and financing of development sites at Watton, Swaffham, Little Melton, Hingham and elsewhere with a gross development value exceeding £50m. Webb also acted for the National Institute of Agricultural Botany on the relocation of its headquarters in Cambridge, which involved strategic land advice, splitting the site for development and leasehold matters.

Howes Percival LLP has three highly experienced partners in Cambridge in team head Jonathan Greenhalgh, Michaela Henson and Steven Beach. The firm provides a broad real estate service to developers, banks and investor clients across the whole of East Anglia and it is known for its ‘efficient service and excellent client care’. Greenhalgh regularly advises many of the region’s leading developers, investors, landlords, tenants and funders. Henson specialises in land development and promotion, commercial development and site assembly, property investment, landlord and tenant negotiations and advising on commercial property issues for investors, operational businesses, technology companies and charities nationwide. Beach has 30 years’ experience in commercial property. He acts in property investment transactions and assists landowners with commercial and residential development schemes. 2016 highlights included acting for Turnstone Estates Limited on the development of a cinema-anchored leisure village in Ely, and on mixed-use retail developments in Southend-on-Sea and Colchester Northern Gateway.

The team at Penningtons Manches LLPhas very detailed knowledge in this field and always explains things fully in a language clients can understand’. It is ‘a standout firm for local projects thanks to its knowledge of the land and its strong local connections’, and lead partner Sarah Coates is ‘very responsive and doesn’t just tick boxes’. Associate Emma Spencer garners praise for her ‘friendly, accurate and prompt advice’. The small team in Cambridge works in close concert with the national real estate and is handling a growing stream of work in East Anglia. Highlights included advising Svenska Handelsbanken CB on the refinancing of a portfolio of six properties in the Cambridge area, and on the refinancing of a multimillion-pound property portfolio that required input from the firm’s respected banking practice. Spencer also advised Samsung Cambridge Solution Centre on the surrender of its high-value lease and the negotiation of a new agreement with the landlord.

Taylor Vinters’ ‘outstanding’ team in Cambridge is a core component of the firm’s cross-office real estate practice, which acts for a diverse range of clients in East Anglia, London and across the UK, ranging from innovative and entrepreneurial businesses to individuals and charities, and including prominent names such as Elgin Energy Limited, Jockey Club Estates and Babraham Research Campus. The ‘excellent’ Helen Mutucumarana, who was promoted to partner in 2016, now leads the commercial real estate team and is the firm’s lead lawyer for non-contentious landlord and tenant work. Other key figures include James Slinger, who regularly deals with complex acquisition, development and leasing transactions, and associate Elliot Wilson, a rising star who regularly handles property aspects of corporate mergers and acquisitions as well as land development and landlord and tenant matters. Slinger and Wilson acted for promoter EW Pepper on land promotions in Hertfordshire valued in excess of £10m, which included the negotiation of complex promotion agreements to further the development of residential, commercial and retail projects in Royston.

Dixon Phillips has a strong following among SME clients and is rated for its ‘super-fast responses and appropriate and useful advice’. Paul Dixon is ‘quiet, passionate, determined and thoughtful; he knows commercial property law inside out’. Michelle Atkins is recommended for sales, acquisitions and landlord and tenant work. 2016 saw the firm act for a number of investor and trader clients on the sale and purchase of pubs and restaurants in the Cambridge area, including the acquisition of a Bella Italia outlet by new independent restaurant Millworks. The team also acted for Solar Associates on the acquisition, under option, of a 30-year lease for a 15-acre solar farm site.

Greenwoods Solicitors LLP has an increasingly strong real estate practice in its Cambridge office, with associate director Kelly Peck, associate Neville Drummond and solicitor Alexandra Olivier handling a growing pipeline of work. Peck leads the Cambridge team and is ‘a no-nonsense, proactive and highly skilled lawyer who interacts well with clients to achieve positive outcomes’. Her practice covers a wide range of property matters including lease acquisitions and the management of property portfolios. Drummond has 18 years’ experience in commercial, residential and agricultural property transactions and frequently acts in the acquisition of development sites and on the full range of development matters, from construction through to disposal. He also acts for both landlords and tenants on commercial leasing transactions. The team’s highlights included advising the majority shareholder in a logistics company on the lease of freehold sites to a food producer.

Tees Law is ‘a friendly and professional company of lawyers that is ahead of its field in many ways’. Clients praise its ‘market awareness, commerciality and excellent value for money’. The firm has a solid reputation for residential development projects and is steadily growing its workload of promotion and option agreement matters for developers and local landowners. James Dowson leads the team and is ‘knowledgeable in a vast array of legal areas; he has a real sense of perspective, so he knows when to push and when to exercise caution’. Associate David Marsh ‘has an acute understanding of what needs to be done, knows the law incisively and has a good sense of humour’. Solicitor Lisa Osborne is also recommended. The firm’s highlights included acting for a national haulage contractor on the acquisition of substantial property assets as part of a multimillion-pound corporate transaction. The team also acted for landowners of a 27-acre site in St. Ives on a strategic promotion agreement with a regional developer.


Commercial property: Ipswich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Ipswich
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Ipswich clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Birketts LLP has a team of four partners in Ipswich that is among the most highly regarded in the region. Chris Schwer has significant expertise acting for housebuilders and developers, advising on collaboration arrangements, joint ventures, options and promotion agreements. Chris Barker handles complex strategic land transactions and large development projects, and advises public-sector clients in the healthcare and education sectors. In addition to handling the sale and purchase of large investment properties, high-value leases and large-scale refinancing matters, Stuart Raven has specialist expertise in the area of retail and restaurant developments. Oliver Crichton is a leading property pensions lawyer with niche expertise in investments in commercial property using self-invested personal pensions or small self-administered schemes. The firm has strength in depth thanks to a team of associates that includes Stacy Aspden, who is noted for property elements of large corporate transactions; Vicki Chilton, who advises private developers, investor purchasers and business owners; Julie Hoy, whose expertise includes property refinancing and site acquisitions; Pam Dawson, who has a niche in ports and logistics developments; and Keith Andrews, who handles landlord and tenant matters. The team acted for Hopkins Homes Limited on the multimillion-pound acquisition of land to develop 645 new homes in Hunstanton, Holt, Needham Market, Bramford, Easton, Gazeley and Tunstall.

James Griffiths leads Ashtons Legal’s cross-office real estate team, which includes 20 lawyers in Ipswich. He advises on the full range of commercial property work but specialises in development, investment and property management matters for landowners, developers, investors, landlords and tenants. He can call on experienced associate Simon Burnip who regularly acts for lenders, developers, landlords, tenants, charities and local authorities. His recent transactions include the purchase of a development site that involved the simultaneous sell-off of a pub company and a lease agreement with a hotel operator. He also advised a local authority on securing an anchor tenant for a new development project. Solicitor Alexandra Chater handles the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold premises, the management of investment properties, development work and landlord and tenant matters. Solicitor Sarah Duncan acts for education and public sector clients as well as developers, contractors and consultants. In a key mandate, the team acted for a Plc client on the property aspects of a multimillion-pound share sale.

At Gotelee Solicitors, Martin Whitworth leads a team of three partners, one associate and two assistants that handles commercial property matters for corporate clients based in Suffolk and London. Catherine Abbott handles commercial and agricultural property work including sales, acquisitions and landlord and tenant matters. Oliver Ray has a broad property practice that includes the sale and purchase of licensed premises and leasehold extensions. The firm’s highlights included acting on the sale of a waste disposal transfer station, handling the purchase of a truck stop with land for commercial development, advising on the development of a brownfield site that comprises starter units and large land plots, obtaining planning permission for a company to develop a new headquarters, and the purchase of a former petrol station and car showroom.

Kimat Singh at Kerseys Solicitors leads a team that has a strong presence in the retail sector in Suffolk and also acts for developers, corporates in the healthcare sector and food-service companies. Partner Jane Riley and consultant James Hayward are well regarded among the local business community and handle a broad range of commercial property matters. Highlights from 2016 included helping a large independent retailer to manage its property portfolio, which involved granting leases, licensing matters, option agreements and general landlord and tenant advice. The client also called on the firm for advice on the sale of development sites, the acquisition of investment properties including public houses and convenience stores, and a multimillion-pound retail redevelopment project. The team also acts for one of the UK’s largest chains of garden centres in regard to new lettings and lease renewals. Other clients include Cardinal Healthcare Properties, the real estate subsidiary of a well-known healthcare group.

Blocks has two highly experienced practitioners in Andrew Fleming and Gerry Field. The firm is one of only two providers of legal services to commercial lender Norwich & Peterborough Building Society.

Prettys recruited associate Graeme Burslem from Maclay Murray & Spens LLP, offsetting the departure of Tim Bacon for Ellisons Solicitors. Burslem’s track record includes multimillion-pound sales, acquisitions and land development transactions. 2016 highlights included advising a client on the multimillion-pound sale of land to Persimmon Homes for the development of 120 new residential units.


Commercial property: Norwich

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Norwich
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Norwich clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

The best in the region’ according to some, Birketts LLP is ‘always at the other end of the phone with excellent advice’ The team, which attracts praise for its ‘quick, efficient, very proactive and commercial approach’, not only has a strong regional presence in developer work, strategic land transactions, investment deals and portfolio management, but also acts for several key clients on a national basis. Robert Gibbs leads the strategic land group and is ‘exceptional – he is commercially aware and able to respond quickly’. Head of retail and Melissa Loucas is ‘particularly good and always advises in a commercial manner’. Senior associate Bhargav Trivedi is ‘an excellent lawyer who has a real affinity for clients’. Clients also praise the large team of associates, picking out Greg McCurday who ‘works hard to understand the niche areas in which clients work and the complexities they bring in terms of structuring transactions’, and Andrew Ridout, who is ‘efficient, knowledgeable and very helpful’. Among the firm’s major deals from 2016 was its work for NFC Homes Limited on an option agreement with a landowner concerning the sale of land to a housing association and leasing arrangements for residential units in a new building. The team also acted for Lloyds Bank on an £8.5m financing for a portfolio of residential and commercial sites as part of an incorporation exercise by the borrower.

Howes Percival LLP provides a comprehensive service to developers, banks and investor clients across East Anglia. Its expertise covers a wide variety of sectors including tourism, automotive, energy and education. Newly elected firm chair Tessa Haskey leads the firm-wide real estate team and handles landlord and tenant matters, commercial property deals and finance work. Strategic land expert Tracey Hughes handles complex development projects and Joanna Nicholls is ‘a very good and attentive lawyer’ who regularly acts for clients in the tourism, leisure, energy and healthcare sectors. Director Nicola Curle advises residential developers and landowners on conditional contracts, options and overage arrangements, and has specialist expertise in the education sector having acted for numerous further education institutions in surplus land disposals and student accommodation projects. Director Alice Liddle has extensive experience in strategic land matters, and the drafting of complex bespoke options and collaboration agreements for residential development projects. The team acted for Anglia Maltings in negotiating an option to acquire land to construct a road to enable the expansion of its main UK maltings operation and to facilitate further residential development in the area. Another key deal saw it advise Genatec on its investment in a wind turbine project, which involved the acquisition of a special purpose vehicle with an option to lease a site once planning permission was granted for renewable energy development.

According to one client, Mills & Reeve LLP is ‘the best firm for development work in East Anglia; the service is very good, with strong technical knowledge from partner to associate level’. The firm is a national player in the real estate sector and its Norwich team has a strong reputation of advice to landowners, developers such as Urban&Civic, investors including SUE Developments, a host of corporates and education institutions, and numerous housebuilders and charities. Head of department Caroline Dean advises her landowner client base on development work and is ‘a very high-calibre lawyer’, with clients citing her ‘depth of local knowledge as well as her practical and pragmatic approach’. Carina Cobbold is ‘very bright, able, personable and switched on; she is one of the brightest and hardest-working solicitors around’. Senior associate Anna Aldous is ‘hardworking, decisive, diligent and has the ability to see issues clearly and find solutions’. Also recommended are principal associates Lisa-Marie Kennedy (who is noted for her ‘excellent legal knowledge and client awareness’) and Zoe Cooke, who specialises in high-value residential projects for London-based developers; and associate Lucy Whipps, who handles landowner investment and development matters for clients such as the Centre for Food & Health. Keith Hamilton has retired. Highlights included acting for landowner Kilverstone Trust on the sale of land for a residential development project that will deliver 5,000 homes near Thetford as part of a project to develop a new community that will include three schools, a health centre and 48 acres of employment land.

Ashtons Legal’s team in Norwich team is playing an increasingly central role in the firm-wide practice. Genie Barham is ‘very thorough – her advice is fully considered and pragmatic, and she doesn’t give the impression that a conversation is on the clock’. Barham handles the full spectrum of non-contentious commercial property work, including high-value and complex acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant matters, development projects, options and complex overages agreements. Solicitor Howard Bailey specialises in freehold and leasehold transactions, commercial leases and secured lending. The ‘diligent and polite’ Emma Robinson is also recommended. The team acted for Yarco Properties Limited on the £1.6m acquisition of premises in Great Yarmouth, which had to be concluded within 48 hours to prevent the property being sold at auction. Other highlights included advising Pinnacle Consulting Engineers on a £1m ten-year lease of office premises in Welwyn Garden City.

Fosters has a broad client base of developers, professional landlords and lenders, for which it acts on commercial property sales and purchases, commercial leases and the real estate elements of business sales. The firm is also strong in agricultural land sales and the acquisition of land for development. Team head Simon Button and senior associate Rachel Appleton each have more than ten years’ experience in real estate matters. Highlights included assisting longstanding client Taylor Properties Trading on a new lease arrangement with the local authority for a bin store. Button also acted for a housebuilder on a major residential development project that will include affordable housing.

Leathes Prior has a team of eight fee earners in Norwich led by Robert Sibley, whose work includes leasehold and freehold acquisitions, residential and commercial developments, commercial leases, investment property and a broad range of landlord and tenant issues. Senior partner William Riley has considerable experience in matters concerning conveyancing, trusts and commercial property, on which he advises a number of substantial charitable institutions. Partner David Clarke is also recommended for all aspects of commercial property and residential development work. The firm’s client base predominantly comprises corporations, investors, developers and charities in East Anglia, but its caseload includes transactions across the UK. In 2016, Sibley and assistant Victoria Smith advised AIM-listed veterinary group CVS (UK) on acquisitions in East Anglia, Southampton, Kent and Wales. New clients include The Somerleyton Estate, for which the firm handles the granting and surrendering of commercial leases.

Bruce Faulkner leads the team at Rogers and Norton, which is noted for providing ‘advice that is tailored to meet the complexity of individual cases’. The firm handles freehold and leasehold commercial property acquisitions, including a high number of investment transactions, and is also busy with option agreements for new development projects. Its client base largely comprises local businesses but also includes major landowners, PLCs and pension schemes. Managing partner Richard Etheridge acts for many GP surgeries and healthcare professionals in property transactions and ‘brings a commercial and pragmatic approach that is always well received’. Legal executive Yvonne Benner ‘far exceeds much of the competition in Norwich in respect of commercial conveyancing’. Senior solicitor Lauren Coleman is also recommended.

At Clapham & Collinge Solicitors, ‘pragmatic’ partner Hugh Berridge has more than 25 years’ experience in commercial property deals for investors and corporate clients, including commercial landlord and tenant matters. Solicitor Jade Tinney also handles property matters as part of her broad commercial practice. Highlights included advising on a development agreement and a section 106 agreement for a large residential development, and assisting the purchaser of a partially tenanted office block in Norwich with the subsequent granting of leases.

Cozens-Hardy LLP provides ‘a practical and helpful service with a view to getting deals done’. The ‘friendly, reliable and pragmaticDan Evans and Caroline Linsdell handle commercial property transactions nationwide and across a range of sectors including office, retail, industrial and agricultural properties. The firm’s recent highlights include the £7m disposal of land to a national housebuilder; the purchase of an iconic property in the Norfolk Broads; numerous lettings of land for onshore wind or solar farms; assisting with property aspects of a large corporate acquisition; and the negotiation of promotion agreements for the disposal of development land. The firm regularly advises local charities on commercial investments and acquisitions.

Steeles Law’s team handles property transactions, office and industrial unit leases, option agreements for residential and commercial development, and overage agreements. Senior director and head of real estate Michael Fahy, who is predominantly based in London but also serves an East Anglian client base through the firm’s Norwich office, has more than 30 years’ experience and is ‘quite simply a class act; superlatively good, he makes difficult subjects easy to understand’. Fahy’s highlights included advising The Liberal Democrats on property restructuring matters that included the surrender of leases on existing premises in London. He also acted for A R Hall & Sons in securing an option agreement for a large residential development. The firm recruited newly qualified Lisha Gorsia to the team in 2016 to specialise in commercial property transactions.


Commercial property: Peterborough

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Peterborough
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Peterborough clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Buckles Solicitors LLP has ‘a very effective, energetic and professional team of friendly lawyers who are clearly keen to offer speedy responses to any issue’. The team’s diverse practice covers the administration of property portfolios, agricultural land acquisitions and sales, mineral extraction and landfill development, landlord and tenant issues, corporate support work and the commercial property related securitisations. Head of department Michael Rabbett handles a broad mix of agricultural, commercial and residential property matters and works closely with clients in the agricultural and haulage sectors. Also recommended are Colleen Gostick, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable and always strives to provide a top-quality service’, and Michael Blank, who acts for high-profile commercial clients. Chris Mundell joined the firm as a partner having previously worked as UK property counsel for Virgin Active, and solicitor Brendon Lee joined from the combined legal team of Harrow and Barnet Councils to add skills in planning and development work. The team recently acted for Best Friends Veterinary Group on the disposal of a chain of surgeries that involved granting new leases on 24 properties. The firm also acted for a leading international chain of health clubs as on the redevelopment and extension of a facility in central London that involved the surrender of leases, removal of rights across land and a development agreement. Other clients include Keystone Developments Limited and Cross Keys Homes.

Greenwoods Solicitors LLP is a ‘highly skilled and commercially aware firm’ that comes ‘highly recommended’ by clients, who are ‘happy to refer others to the firm’. Directors Stephen Illingworth and Karin Horsley are well regarded for their ability to manage complex and high-value deals in a commercial way. Illingworth works mainly on leasing deals and strategic development acquisitions. Horsley has significant expertise acting for overseas investors on multimillion-pound investment property acquisitions in London, and advises large companies on the real estate aspects of substantial corporate transactions. The firm has a strong team of associates, including Samantha East, who focuses on development and investment funding matters for financial institutions, and Katrina Bretten, whose practice bridges commercial property and construction law. Horsley acted for Marshall Motor Holdings on the property aspects of its £106m acquisition of Ridgeway Garages (Newbury), which required due diligence on 47 properties.

Hegarty LLP’s property practice is ‘very professional and helpful, and provides good value for money’. It focuses on rural land issues including investment transactions, construction, development projects, acquisitions and disposals. Senior partner and head of department Richard Hegarty is ‘first class and has a wealth of experience’. Associate Joy Plummer is ‘approachable, knowledgeable and looks for solutions to issues rather than just reporting the facts’. Consultant Hugh Nicholls has more than 30 years’ experience and is highly recommended. Hegarty recently advised Ballast Phoenix Ltd on complex leasing arrangements for waste incineration facilities. He also acted for Lawrence David Ltd in numerous transactions including the lease of its former office premises. Another highlight saw the team act for Rutland Water Cycling Ltd on the lease of a new store at Cambridge Railway Station and the construction of a new outlet at a retail park.

Hunt & Coombs LLP’s department is headed by Anna Spriggs, a highly experienced and knowledgeable specialist property lawyer. She regularly advises on the sale and acquisition of church, charity and development land as well as handling leasehold and freehold commercial sales and purchases. The firm handles high-value work for regional businesses, landed estates, institutional lenders, not-for-profit entities and statutory bodies. It is a regional leader for advice to charities throughout Northamptonshire, Rutland and the Peterborough Diocese. Consultant Paul Tate has nearly 40 years’ experience in commercial property and land development work. Legal executive Sarah Morris is recommended for landlord and tenant matters. Solicitors Carole Mahoney, who acts on leasehold and freehold sales and acquisitions, and James Steward, who focuses on commercial property and ecclesiastical law matters, are also recommended. One recent highlight in the ecclesiastical sector involved complex covenant releases and reverter provision.


Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia
  2. Leading individuals (region-wide)
  3. Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

Next generation lawyers (region-wide)

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Elsewhere in East Anglia clients in East Anglia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Ashtons Legal has experienced practitioners in Bury St Edmunds who work as part of a 20-lawyer cross-office team. It is best known for its development, investment management and corporate support work. Ron Clare has more than 25 years’ experience in commercial property and secured lending law and acts for a broad spectrum of corporate, private and institutional clients and lenders throughout East Anglia and beyond. Solicitor Scott Hilton, who is also part of the firm’s banking and finance team, handles freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant matters, and property transactions for pension schemes. The team’s clients include Cambridge Building Society, Abel Homes, WN Developments and Bennett Homes. Highlights included acting for a consortium of private landowners on the completion of a promotion agreement for a 49-acre site in Kent with a gross development value of £126m. The firm also acted for a global commodities trader and exporter on the purchase of a new £2.45m long lease on newly built commercial premises in West London.

The ‘very professional’ team at Butcher Andrews attracts praise for its ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and for its ability to ‘explain legal jargon in simple terms that clients can understand’. Managing partner Anne Kirby has a strong reputation in the local property market but also acts on matters outside East Anglia. She acts for numerous national companies with retail premises on selling freehold and leasehold properties, as well as granting and taking leases. These include charity Break, which has a national network of retail outlets. She also advises Anglian Windows Limited and leather goods company Holt Retail, which has outlets in Norfolk and Suffolk. Chris Hoxley is ‘very conscientious and always looks at every angle before providing good, sound advice’. Experienced solicitor Sophie Thornley joined the firm after a career break, having previously worked at legacy Wragge & Co. The firm’s recent highlights include assisting Strellas Lane Wind Energy with obtaining an option for the lease of land and an option for easement of adjoining land for the development of wind power generation capacity. Kirby also advised Levitt on the sale of leasehold premises in London. Hoxley provides day-to-day property advice to the Holkham Estate, including handling land sales and leases, and assisted Vello with its purchase of land in Swardeston for a new residential development.

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP is ‘responsive, good value and thoroughly understands clients’ issues’. The firm has a pre-eminent position for handling commercial property on the region’s east coast and it continues to be busy with land acquisitions for residential development. It is also active in property deals for many large local businesses. The team is led by the ‘extremely approachable and knowledgeable’ Mark Rymarz and Ben Blower; clients rate them as ‘technically strong and commercial’. In 2016, Rymarz concluded a large option agreement for land in Suffolk, which is primarily for residential development purposes and which has a gross development value of up to £40m. He also acted for some of the region’s largest residential and commercial developers on significant land acquisitions. Blower acted on complex acquisitions of land in Lowestoft formerly owned by a local authority and a town centre site for a major developer. Other highlights included acting for a housing association client on the acquisition of development sites.

The property practice at Fraser Dawbarns is led by commercial partner Daniel Ball and comprises partners across its network of offices in Wisbech, King’s Lynn, March and Downham Market. Colin Bailey, Jenny Rushmer, Andrew Carrier and Tony Cheetham have a client base that extends across East Anglia and nationwide.

Leeds Day’s property practice has a broad focus and acts for clients across East Anglia. Head of commercial business Bob Dewdney and partner Christopher Dodd are recommended. Dodd focuses on work for investors and occupiers and also handles land development projects. The team’s recent highlights include the £1.4m sale of a leisure centre and retail land site for development as a waste transfer site; a £7.2m collaborative agricultural land sale; and advising a landowner on a promotion agreement and an equalisation agreement for a phased residential development site sale with an estimated gross development value of up to £45m.


Construction

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  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLPprovides first-class service and the team always makes itself available to discuss any issue’. ‘A first choice for any contentious matters’, the firm has ‘a hands-on approach and provides competent and astute advice that shows a good knowledge of the construction industry and comes at significantly better value than its peers in London’. The practice’s three construction partners also garner high praise: Andrew Rush ‘has real depth of experience and provides sage advice on contentious issues’; litigator Ruth Sunaway is ‘a very tenacious and committed lawyer who leaves no stone unturned to find the best solution for her clients’; and newly promoted construction and engineering partner Stefan Harris-Wright in Cambridge, who is ‘commercial and gets things done quickly’. The team also has great strength in depth at associate level, with senior associate Josh Ripman and associates Oli Worth and Hanna McNab highly recommended. The firm advised ForFarmers UK Limited on the procurement of a new office, production and warehousing facility in Suffolk. The deal has a construction cost of £3m and involved both a bespoke development agreement with developer Artisan UK and liaising with the local authority regarding the construction of a new spur road. Another highlight saw the team handle construction documentation for developer Inspired Coombe Limited in relation to the £27m conversion of an office site in Croydon into 82 flats.

Cambridge houses a strong core of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s construction team, which undertakes projects of national significance and also handles overseas projects. Dominic Lacey leads the Cambridge construction and engineering team and is ‘very personable and has a very good understanding of clients’ specific requirements’. Principal associate Tom Douglas specialises in non-contentious matters with a strong emphasis on the transport sector. He also regularly advises on projects in the education and healthcare sectors. Douglas acted alongside highly regarded senior associate Patrick Cooney and litigation associate Karen Chang for Highways England on a range of design, build, finance and operate matters for projects with a total value exceeding £100m. Lacey and Chang also played key roles in the team’s work for the Government of Bangladesh’s PPP Authority and Roads and Highways Department on a $50m project to develop the country’s infrastructure. This involved drafting PPP contracts and advising on a range of issues such as intra-governmental arrangements. Lacey and Cooney also handled significant matters for the UK’s Department for Transport, including complex negotiations between channel tunnel rail link operator HS1 and UK Power Networks to consolidate power distribution agreements on the HS1 route. The firm’s extensive list of clients also includes Transport for London and Kier Group.

Mills & Reeve LLPhas a very impressive legal team that is strong, dynamic and able to provide strategic and innovative solutions’. The firm’s Cambridge office features 12 construction lawyers who focus on major projects across East Anglia. Stuart Thompson leads the team and provides ‘sound strategic and technical advice with an approach that engenders calmness and reassurance in times of uncertainty and stress’. Thompson oversees a strong team of principal associates that includes Robert Weatherley, who is the main point of contact for the University of Cambridge and many of its colleges, and is also working on the Cambridge Mosque project; Alexandra Pike, who ‘has strong industry awareness and takes a leading role in complex construction disputes’ and who works closely with major developers such as Urban&Civic; Katherine Souter, who has taken the lead on state aid and construction procurement work since Ron Plascow retired from the partnership to take on the role of consultant; and Alison Garrett, who is regarded as an outstanding construction disputes lawyer. Consultant Peter Rout, who joined the team from Transport for Greater Manchester, has more than 25 years’ experience in major infrastructure projects. Highlights included advising the University of Cambridge on setting up its consultant and contractor framework and advising a borough council on the construction, procurement and state aid implications of an £11.8m transaction to finance and acquire a long-term property investment.

At Greenwoods Solicitors LLP, ‘the level of service is first rate, the firm demonstrates great understanding of the issues and the responses are very prompt’. Howard Crossman leads the team from London but the Peterborough office has a strong associate in Katrina Bretten, who is noted for her ‘sound legal advice and great understanding of construction law’. She provides specialist non-contentious advice to a wide range of clients, with particular emphasis on the education and housing sectors, and draws on her previous in-house experience at a national contractor. Also recommended is consultant Richard Jones, who has more than 30 years’ experience in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Bretten was part of a team that advised a specialist engineering company in East Anglia on its work as a sub-contractor on a major government procurement project. Solicitor Kirstie Sowter advised the same client on a dispute with a large food producer in relation to the relocation of a major production line.

In 2016, Hewitsons advised on construction contracts for more than 25 projects with an estimated combined value of £200m. It handles a broad spectrum of advisory and contentious work, and is well regarded for its specialist advice on construction projects across the UK. The firm’s Cambridge office is home to two of the team’s senior lawyers in managing partner Colin Jones and senior associate Lorna Carter, who is praised for her ‘practical and logical approach, her helpful and professional manner, and her ability to provide advice in a way that is not too legalistic’. Jones is adviser to the Association of Consultant Architects (ACA) and the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID), while Carter is counsel to the Federation of Master Builders National Standards and Conduct Committee. The firm’s recent highlights include advising Howard Lewisham Limited on construction documentation for an industrial estate in New Bermondsey, London. The team also acted for Culford School on the construction of a hockey pitch and tennis courts, and assisted AMD Environmental with a dispute with Cumberland Construction concerning the final account under a construction contract for works carried out at the London Hilton. The ensuing adjudication resulted in a favourable decision for the client.

Buckles Solicitors LLP has a strong and integrated team that handles work on a national basis. James Coppinger leads the cross-office team from Nottingham but spends a significant amount of time at the firm’s headquarters in Peterborough, where litigators James Maxey and senior associate Nick Porter play key roles. The team advises private and public sector clients including developers, housing associations, building contractors, funders, specialist sub-contractors, education establishments and commercial occupiers. Its key areas of focus include social housing, student accommodation, engineering and renewable energy, in which it handles procurement and contentious matters. Coppinger, property partner Michael Rabbett and planning solicitor Brendon Lee provided advice to a housing association on procurement, construction contracts, development agreements and other matters regarding two housing development schemes. Coppinger and Maxey acted for an engineering contractor in the automotive industry on high-value contracts for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of plant and machinery.

Leathes Prior has a strong contentious construction practice in Norwich that includes a construction specialist in David Richards. He is a member of the Norfolk Forum for the Construction Industry, the Society for Construction Law and the Strategic Planning and Transport committee for the Norwich Society. Head of litigation Mike Barlow and head of commercial property Robert Sibley are closely involved with contentious matters. The firm’s highlights included acting for a well-known housebuilder in a complex matter concerning the demolition of a multimillion-pound site, which involved disputes with several subcontractors. The firm also acted for a residential development company in disputes with residents who had purchased high-value properties.

Prettys is ‘an excellent firm with good, solid experience’. Litigator Peter Blake leads the team and focuses on both domestic and international disputes as well as commercial matters such as contract drafting. The firm regularly acts for national and regional contractors, as well as consultants, developers and housebuilders. Clients recommend associate Rebecca Palmer for her ‘good industry knowledge; she is solid on details and well known by local industry and professional bodies’. Associate Ian Seeley is recommended for construction disputes and regulatory and procurement matters. Part-time consultant Chris Harrall assists with the team’s larger and more complex disputes; his previous experience as commercial direct at ISG Construction gives him unique insight from the surveyor’s perspective.

Rogers and Norton is noted for its ‘professional, timely and knowledgeable’ service. The firm focuses on contentious construction matters, in which the ‘practical, knowledgeable and responsive’ Peter Hastings ‘has proven over time to give first-class advice based on experience and comprehensive knowledge of his area of expertise’. Hastings’s highlights included assisting the main contractor with issues arising from the construction of a multimillion-pound care home; advising on Joint Contracts Tribunal contracts for a large residential development project with a complex payment structure; acting in several adjudications regarding sums in excess of £100,000; and settling an £80,000 claim concerning irrigation works.


Environment

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  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLPcompares well to the competition and its very strong practice comes without the price tag of a City firm’. The environment team draws on expertise from many of the firm’s practices including regulatory, planning, property litigation and public law. Litigator and team head Richard Eaton, planning specialist Tom Newcombe, barrister Laura Thomas and senior associate Sue Chadwick are all praised by clients. ‘Efficient and supportive’ barrister Matthew Gowenclearly has good knowledge of environmental law and puts clients at complete ease’. Also recommended are senior associate and planning lawyer Sue Chadwick and legal director Stuart Jones who specialises in projects for the development and management of mineral deposits. In 2016, the firm acted for Air Studios, which is an internationally renowned recording studio in London that is used for recording major film scores and is often frequented by well-known recording artists, in a challenge to a planning application. For St Stephens Restoration and Preservation Trust the team handled a challenge to the proposed extension of the Royal Free Hospital on environmental grounds.

Hewitsonsclearly has a deep understanding of the subject matter and experience dealing with regulatory authorities’. Clients report that ‘the advice is spot on, easy to understand and really good value for money’. The firm provides a wide-ranging service that encompasses compliance advice relating to permitting, nuisance and pollution, as well as defence work. Its lawyers frequently undertake their own advocacy in Magistrates’ Court and in public inquiries concerning environmental permitting. The firm has a strong presence in the agricultural sector, and recently acted for several pig, poultry and beef producers. Clients recommend ‘fantastic lawyerDeborah Sharplesfor her ability to grasp the detail of a situation, her knowledge, her patience and attention to detail, which are without equal’. In 2016, she acted for a well-known producer of construction materials in connection with a dispute with the Environment Agency regarding the maintenance of flood defences. She also advised a local farming business on a matter concerning the inappropriate disposal of animal waste products.

Paul Wootton leads a team at Howes Percival LLP that is spread across all of the firm’s offices but has substantial weight in Norwich. The firm is well known for providing environmental law advice on permitting, policy and internal protocols, with emphasis on sea defence, waste and animal by-products. Wootton is an experienced planning lawyer who regularly advises on Environmental Impact Assessment matters, particularly in regard to potential impacts on EU protected habitats. Consultant Rebecca Carriage is vastly experienced in all aspects of environmental law and has a particular interest in waste and minerals. She handles standalone environmental issues as well as due diligence for commercial property transactions. She is supported by solicitor Jamie Childs, who deals with waste law issues. Associate Jay Mehta handles environmental law issues and habitat regulation, among other planning matters. Key clients include Ford Retail, Persimmon Homes, Shanks Waste Management and Silvertree Environmental.

Andrew Bryce & Co’s name partner has built up a strong track record over more than 30 years. He frequently advises on environmental, planning and health and safety issues in the waste, oil and gas, nuclear, property and industrial sectors. His regulatory and transactional work includes matters relating to environmental compliance and enforcement. He was a founder member of the UK Environmental Law Association and remains an honorary life member. He is best known for his criminal defence and environmental permitting work.

Richard Buxton is a niche environmental and public law practice that operates from Cambridge and London. Senior partner Richard Buxton is a solicitor advocate who has worked as an independent practitioner since 1989. He advises claimants on a range of matters including proposals for large and small developments, wind farms, telecommunication masts, ports, pipelines, roads, airports and industrial plants. He frequently acts in challenges to local and central government decisions, though his work also encompasses claims against bad neighbours for noise pollution. His track record includes matters at most levels of court, including several cases in the House of Lords, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. His firm is currently advising Headcorn Parish Council on in its case against a proposed housing development at Hazelpits.


Planning

Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Excellent in every aspect’, Birketts LLP handles the full spectrum of planning matters for a broad client base that includes private and public sector businesses such as minerals and waste companies Tarmac and Lafarge; local authorities such as Cambridge City Council and Breckland District Council; strategic developers such as Countryside Developments and Enterprise Property Group; and a host of regional and national housebuilders. Tom Newcombe leads the team and is ‘a particularly strong asset; a can-do lawyer who has an extensive track record in complicated projects requiring specialist expertise’. Consultant Philip Kratz ‘has the magic touch; his knowledge and level of service are excellent’. Clients also recommend property litigator Richard Eaton and senior associate Sue Chadwick. The firm’s recent work includes advising Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council and Kirdford Parish Council on a potential judicial review of a retrospective grant of planning permission for an anaerobic digester, which involved points relating to the lawful use of the site and importation of waste. The firm also acted for Hopkins Homes and Hopkins & Moore (Developments) on section 106 agreements, deeds of variation, highways issues, affordable housing and community infrastructure matters in relation to numerous sites in East Anglia.

Hewitsons provides ‘market-leading advice without market-leading rates’ according to clients, who consider it to be ‘excellent all round; the work is of a very high standard and always within deadlines’. The firm is known for acting on large-scale development projects including residential and mixed-use urban expansions, and regularly advises the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) on large regeneration projects. The firm ‘understands the needs and perspective of developers and always gives well-researched, practical, clear and insightful advice’. Department head Deborah Sharpleshas outstanding knowledge and experience in her subject area; she is an excellent team player with an eye for detail and a commitment to finding solutions’. Senior associate Gemma Dudley is ‘an exceptional planning lawyer with excellent knowledge of case law and legislation’ and provides ‘clear and thoughtful advice that leads to practical solutions to complex issues’. In one ongoing contentious matter the team is acting in proceedings at the Court of Appeal for Dunnett Investments, which was seeking to convert an office building in Dorset into residential accommodation under permitted development rights. The property is subject to a planning condition that prohibits change of use without express planning consent from the local authority and the High Court held that this required an express grant of planning permission. Sharples is advising the HCA on the development of Lodge Hill Camp in Kent for up to 5,000 new homes.

Howes Percival LLPcompares very well with all firms outside London’. Paul Wootton leads the team from Norwich and is ‘simply an extremely good planning lawyer’. The firm is best known for its work on large development projects, often for prominent clients such as Orbit Housing Group, Bloor Homes and Turnstone Estates. Specialist planning lawyer Amy Richardson continues to build the Cambridge office’s profile in residential development, social housing, equine development, agricultural and diversification projects, and commercial and leisure developments. Associate Jay Mehta ‘has excellent judgement, very good attention to detail and always provides good written work’. He counts Bovis Homes and Anglia Maltings among his clients and regularly acts in high-profile judicial review cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Solicitor Jamie Childs is also building a good reputation for supporting challenges to judicial reviews, which included significant victories in the Supreme Court. He regularly acts for housebuilders such as Persimmon Homes. One recent transaction saw the firm represent a consortium of investors in a large mixed-use development in London that includes more than 500 homes and a significant retail offering. In another deal Mehta advised a large housebuilder on the development of a large residential project on the south coast.

Mills & Reeve LLP is a national player in the real estate development sector and acts not only on some of the most significant projects in East Anglia, but also elsewhere in the UK and abroad. The firm has a strong reputation among investors, national developers, strategic landowners, major corporates, and education and healthcare providers. Peter Seaborn leads the planning team and specialises in complex planning and compulsory purchase projects involving residential strategic land schemes, new settlements, urban extensions, and town centre regeneration projects. The ‘very highly ratedBeverley Firth, who leads the firm’s real estate practice and is a partner in the planning team, handles large-scale residential development and mixed-use schemes and for clients such as Urban&Civic, which she is advising on its appointment by the Ministry of Defence to be the developer of its land holdings at new settlement Waterbeach New Community. This project will create 9,000 homes in the Cambridge area. She is also advising the company on planning matters for new communities at Alconbury Weald and Radio Station Rugby. Senior associate Saskia Molekamp is a rising star and regularly acts on planning matters for landowners including Cambridge colleges. In another highlight, the team acted for Marshall Group Properties on a 1300-home urban expansion project near Cambridge Airport, which will include car dealerships, a primary school, retail outlets and community and commercial facilities.

Ashtons Legal provides ‘excellent service and really fights its client’s corner’. Its team consists of two highly experienced consultants who have previously worked at local authorities and understand planning applications from both perspectives. The firm acts for local authorities, residents, developers and landowners on all aspects of planning and related highways matters, from applications to appeals. The ‘consistently reliable’ Bob McGeady is praised for his ‘up-to-date knowledge deployed with assurance and a canny sense of the commercial implications’. McGeady is ‘a star in the firmament of planning lawyers; his previous experience with local planning authorities means he is exceptionally well placed to deliver what clients need in complex negotiations and contentious disputes’. McGeady and Paul Harris advised M S Oakes Limited on handling objections to a planning application and the promotion of site through the local development framework process. The team is now pursuing an appeal following the rejection of the application. Other highlights included a judicial review of a client’s basement development project in London, and acting for Swishbrook Limited on its objection to a compulsory purchase order related to the redevelopment of Brent Cross shopping centre.

Buckles Solicitors LLP’s planning team is known for providing a personal service for clients involved in urban and rural developments across East Anglia. The firm’s strong focus on social housing sees it work for many registered providers on affordable housing planning issues. The team also handles a growing number of private residential development matters. Solicitor Brendon Lee’s recent work includes a judicial review of planning permission granted by Stratford-on-Avon District Council for the development of land neighbouring a client’s property; acting for a private landowner in the judicial review of planning permission from Rutland County Council for a residential extension; and acting for the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply in an alleged breach of planning control by East Northamptonshire District Council in regard to a car park extension at the client’s head office in Easton-on-the-Hill.


Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Birketts LLP is ‘excellent on all fronts’, and clients praise its ability to ‘provide a very balanced view of property law and commercial dictates’. The firm has one of the largest property litigation teams in East Anglia., giving it the scope to handle every aspect of real estate litigation, although it has particular expertise in Town and Village Green matters, Telecoms Code property matters, rights to light cases and commercial landlord and tenant work. The ‘careful and meticulousRichard Eaton is noted for his combination of ‘outstanding knowledge with practical advice’. John Scannellhas vast experience and knows how to put clients in the strongest position’; he ‘combines great tenacity with a keen appreciation of how points will play out in court’. James Robinson is ‘a star performer, technically excellent, practical and commercial’. ‘Dogged, persuasive and thoughtful’ senior associate and barrister Simon Woodhead ‘can go toe-to-toe with any QC’. Clients also recommend senior associate Charlotte Wormstone, who is ‘very calm when things get pressured’. The firm recently acted for a major landowner in a complex case that included a professional negligence claim and rectification proceedings arising from a multimillion-pound transaction.

Head and shoulders above other firms’, say clients of Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, which has ‘a good range of resource, is always responsive and is willing to share knowledge and good practice’. The team in Cambridge acts for an extensive roster of national and international clients and is an integral part of the large national real estate litigation practice. Richard New has 13 years’ experience and ‘provides very accessible advice for non-lawyers’. He handles heavyweight contentious matters and has been involved in some of the largest disputes concerning business rates in recent years. Clients of ‘excellent, responsive’ associate Natalie Minott rate her ‘first-rate client service and ability to think of every detail’. She has more than 10 years’ experience and regularly advises on residential property disputes. ‘Professional, knowledgeable’ senior associate Samuel Maw, who moved to Cambridge from the firm’s Birmingham office, focuses on residential development disputes, in which he acts for some of the UK’s largest housebuilders. The firm counts National Grid, Taylor Wimpey and Land Securities among its clients. Recent highlights include acting for a leading financial institution in a rating appeal concerning its headquarters, which currently has a £3m rateable value, and representing Group First in several valuation tribunals concerning self-storage warehouses across the UK.

Clients of Hewitsons are ‘very satisfied with the overall level of service’ provided by the team, which is rated as ‘extremely friendly and pleasant to deal with; the lawyers know the law very well’. The firm’s property litigators work closely with its real estate, planning, agricultural and private client teams to cover the full spectrum of contentious matters. It is highly regarded for its work on development land and restrictive covenant matters, as well as leasehold enfranchisement cases for both freeholders and leaseholders. Clients recommend Robert McLellan and Lucinda Brown, ‘a real star’ who has ‘a very sharp and analytical mind with good tactical awareness’. Senior solicitor Kate Church specialises in property litigation and solicitor Kate Harris combines this area of law with her contentious private trusts and probate practice. Highlights included acting in a complex option notice served on its client by a major supermarket operator that was seeking to reacquire a development site the client had purchased in 2014. The matter included proceedings issued in the Chancery Division seeking a declaration that the option notice was invalid. The firm also acted for residential owners in a claim brought against a builder for defects to a newly built house.

Howes Percival LLP is ‘a good firm that gives sure and confident advice’. The ‘thoroughJamie Kidd in Norwich is ‘extremely calm and able to manage clients well in stressful situations, guiding them through litigation firmly but kindly’. His team focuses largely on land and development issues, but also has growing expertise in leasehold and freehold enfranchisement matters. In Cambridge Simon Murphy’s team has significant expertise in landlord and tenant matters and manages property portfolios for clients such as Cambridge University and Greene King. The firm also counts the Ministry of Defence, The Holkham Estate, Ford Retail, Pinguin Foods and Norwich Cathedral among its clients. Among the firm’s recent highlights was its work for a nationwide retail business as landlord in a complex service charge dispute with four commercial tenants that involved poorly drafted leases. The team also acted for a large private landowner in an action to obtain possession of a property because of unauthorised underletting, and acted in a high-value dispute between trustees over a large plot of land held in trust.

A market leader in East Anglia’, Mills & Reeve LLP has extended its reach nationally, enabling it to ‘hold its own against any regional or national firm’. The firm has a specialist property litigation practice that is best known for landlord and tenant disputes, title disputes, land-related remedies, and contentious residential and agricultural work. Leading light and ‘class act’, Richard Hansonhas a wealth of experience and sound judgement, which he combines with commercial experience and an understanding of the risks’. ‘Commercial, practical and knowledgeable’ principal associate Julian Steed is ‘a real expert and one of the nicest people to have on your side’. ‘Extremely thorough, quick and approachable’ principal associate James Hordern exhibits ‘old-school rigour with a modern, commercial approach’. Clients also recommend associate Rowena Leary, who ‘handles complex matters competently and diplomatically’. The firm successfully acted for the defendants in a £250,000 dispute between neighbouring owners in respect of alleged loss and damages caused to the claimant’s fishery by the excavation of lakes on the client’s land and the consequent abstraction of underground water. The team also acted in a £2.2m case for liquidated company Denouement in pursuing a long-running claim for possession of residential property in Kensington.

Ashtons Legal has a large team of litigators across its office network, many of whom devote part of their practice to contentious real estate matters. Michael Frape leads the team in Cambridge, which includes associate Nigel Maguire, who is highly regarded for property litigation. Last year, Maguire acted for a company tenant in a dispute with its landlord regarding a dilapidations claim on a site operated by the client and subsequently sublet to a third party purchaser of the tenant’s business. He successfully challenged the legal basis to the majority of the landlord’s £550,000 claim and negotiated a final settlement of £35,000. Frape’s highlights included a contested lease matter that was settled before trial. Also recommended are Annabel Mayer, who handled a dispute for a client who had mistakenly built an extension on land outside their title, and Rob Adam, who dealt with a claim against a developer to enforce a contract to purchase a development site.

Buckles Solicitors LLP in Peterborough has a team that provides ‘very efficient, seamless service and support’. The firm handles a wide range of disputes, from boundary and right of way matters to dilapidations and lease renewals for private clients, SMEs and larger businesses, with a growing emphasis on the retail sector. Paul Branch utilises his skills in contentious trusts and probate matters to act in property disputes involving assets held in trusts. Branch acted for East Bridgford Parish Council in its application for first registration as a result of a historical enclosure award. The application was contested and referred to the Land Registry First-Tier Tribunal, which decided in favour of the client. The team also acted for tenant Logex Services Limited in the exercise of a break clause in its lease, which resulted in a dispute when the landlord varied the break terms.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors has a growing property litigation caseload. Head of litigation Mark Kermez leads the team, which includes experienced consultant Philip Lumb. Both have broad litigation practices that include property and trust matters. Commercial property consultant Michael Olmer also plays a key role in the practice. The firm’s highlights include a number of disputes for residential property owners. One such highlight concerned failure to complete a house purchase in which the team defended a vendor’s claim for damages. The team also acted for a landlord whose letting agent had failed to evict troublesome tenants. Lumb pursued a claim against a major housebuilder for negligence in the construction of a property that suffered from severe drainage problems.

Fosters acts on commercial landlord and tenant, dilapidation and service charge litigation for a wide variety of clients. It also acts in residential landlord and tenant matters and is legal partner to the Eastern Landlords Association, advising its members through branches across East Anglia. The team, led by litigation partner Adrian Newborough (who is ‘excellent on all counts’) is known for its expertise in easement and boundary disputes, restrictive covenant matters, pre-emption and overage cases, TLATA claims and matters under the Mobile Homes Act. In 2016, Newborough advised on house in multiple occupation and property conversion disputes, secured the possession of a mobile home for regulatory breaches, and assisted a landlord with a contested service charges case at First-Tier Tribunal. Also recommended is Chris Fielding, whose highlights included advising a business on a complex adverse possession claim regarding a tidal waterway in a busy commercial Suffolk port.

Greene & Greene has ‘a good, efficient practice that is responsive to the needs of the client as well as the purchaser or vendor, and which provides specialist advice at a reasonable cost’. Michael Batty leads the firm’s disputes resolution team and Andrea Nicholls is a highly experienced commercial, agricultural and property litigator. Both are members of the Property Litigation Association. Solicitor Kate Struthers advises on a wide range of property litigation matters on behalf of property owners, landlords and tenants. Her work includes residential possession claims, disputes over easements, breach of leasehold and freehold covenant matters, dilapidations and service charge recovery for residential and commercial properties. The team recently acted in a complex boundary dispute involving rectification of title, adverse possession and entitlements to easements. It also handled a matter that concerned the nature and extent of rights of access to a village playing field for a parish council.

At Greenwoods Solicitors LLPthe service, advice and professionalism is second to none’, according to one client who also rates the firm’s ‘first-class advice and exceptional response times’. Its work covers advice on all aspects of land law including trespass, boundaries, easements, covenants and planning matters, together with landlord and tenant issues such as lease renewals, breach of covenant, dilapidations, insolvency and forfeiture. Associate Caroline Gumbrell is ‘amazing – highly qualified and professional, she always treats clients with care and compassion during a difficult and stressful time’. She acts for many corporate clients with large property portfolios and specialises in commercial and agricultural landlord and tenant work. Senior solicitor Michelle Cox’s practice includes contentious commercial lease renewals, dilapidations claims, leases under the Telecommunications Act and breaches of covenant. Gumbrell’s highlights from 2016 included advising Astor and Windsor International on the exercise of a forfeiture clause on commercial property following the tenant’s breach of covenant of obligation to repair. She also acted for Bucks and Herts Property Co in contentious lease matters arising from its plan to redevelop a parade of shops.

At Hunt & Coombs LLP, lead lawyer Lesley Milne is the only member of the Property Litigation Association in Peterborough and has more than 30 years’ experience. She provides ‘very professional service that is reliable and clear to clients in all aspects’. Milne’s broad commercial litigation practice includes advising landlords and tenants of commercial and residential properties on a range of disputes including those relating to possession, dilapidation and lease renewals. She also handles the enforcement and variation of restrictive covenant claims, rights of way disputes for dominant and servient lands, and boundary disputes. Milne’s recent highlights include acting for Olive Properties Consultants in a landlord and tenant dispute concerning properties let out to a company that provides accommodation to vulnerable young adults. The claims related to rent and dilapidation issues after the tenants vacated the properties before the end of the lease. She also settled a dispute at mediation concerning a £600,000 property that suffered problems with water penetration.

The team at Kerseys Solicitors is ‘efficient, approachable, professional and knowledgeable’, according to clients who also note the firm’s ‘excellent support’. Managing partner and team head Anthony Wooding is ‘a calm voice of reason in a storm; always precise, helpful and ready to listen’. Associate Ross Burkitt is also recommended, as is solicitor Adrian Green. The firm recently assisted a client in settling a complex boundary dispute following the referral of a case to the First-Tier Tribunal. It also acted for a commercial landlord in cases arising from serious breaches of covenants by its tenants. Other highlights saw Burkitt successfully act for several residential landlords in connection with the termination of tenancies and possession proceedings, while Wooding acted in a dispute over monies owed following an investment in a property portfolio.

Leathes Prior advises on a wide range of contentious property issues, including trusts of land, boundary disputes, easements, covenants, and landlord and tenant matters. Its caseload comprises disputes concerning commercial, residential and agricultural tenancies and applications involving proceedings before the Property Chamber First-Tier Tribunal and the Planning Inspectorate. In Darren Bowen the firm has a highly skilled property litigator who is respected by surveyors, land agents, landed estates and counsel, and whose expertise covers agricultural property disputes, particularly those involving probate matters. Solicitor Sabina Haag specialises in landlord and tenant disputes involving dilapidations claims, forfeiture proceedings and commercial rent arrears. She also handles matters concerning timeshare properties. Key matters from 2016 included advising St. Olave’s Marina as the freehold owner of land alongside the New Cut canal on a dispute concerning the ownership of and obligations to maintain piling situated alongside the canal. Brown and Calum Paterson also advised Dereham Town Council on regaining possession of land near Dereham Memorial Town Hall that had been occupied by trespassers.

Taylor Vinters has strong commercial litigation and property practices in which key partners also handle contentious real estate matters for technology, not-for-profit and agricultural enterprises as well as high-net-worth individuals. Property partner Helen Mutucumarana handled a £1m dispute for a prestigious multinational technology business concerning a delayed building project. Luke Hibbert advised another multinational business in the technology sector on a £600,000 dispute that arose from its landlord’s refusal to provide consent for the client to sublet its tenancy. The team negotiated consent for the subletting and thereby secured the client’s income rent from the premises for five years. Another highlight saw Hibbert and associate Victoria Mason advise a biotechnology company on a dilapidations claim brought by its landlord for a site that had been used for the design, engineering and manufacture of products for the medical industry.


Social housing

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  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals

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Birketts LLP is best known for acting for registered providers (RPs) of social housing in development projects, sales, financings, planning, housing management, employment and constitutional and regulatory matters. The firm helps private housebuilders to set up new RPs and in 2016 it completed two successful registration processes. It also advises RPs on setting up asset and liabilities registers. Many members of its team belong to industry organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Housing and Social Housing Law Association. Peter Goddard leads the social housing and residential development team from Norwich. Senior associate Emily Groom handles development and regulatory matters for social landlords. The firm also calls on the expertise of property litigation partner John Scannell and planning partner Tom Newcombe. The firm’s highlights included advising Havebury Housing Partnership on the £5m acquisition of 50 affordable housing units from a national housebuilder for a scheme in rural Cambridgeshire. The team also acted for Chater Community Housing Limited on its registration with the Homes and Communities Agency as a new for-profit RP. Orbit Group, Flagship Housing Group and Victory Housing Trust are just a few of the firm’s many RP clients.

Kevin Oelrichs at Spire Solicitors LLP is widely regarded as one of the leading experts on social housing in East Anglia. He heads the social housing practice at the firm, which has one of the strongest reputations of any practice in this area of law in East Anglia. Oelrichs focuses on property matters for social landlords, which encompasses site acquisition, development, planning, infrastructure agreements, property portfolio transfers and securities matters. He is assisted by Annette Collen, who advises on significant property deals for housing associations, and litigator Sian Carrel, who specialises in landlord and tenant matters for social housing landlords across East Anglia, and also handles a busy caseload of possession proceedings, anti-social behaviour injunctions and committal proceedings. Associate Susan Ward has more than 35 years’ experience in the local property market and acts on a variety of residential sales and purchases, remortgages, land acquisitions, new-build conveyancing, help to buy schemes and mortgage security work. The firm has a long list of social landlord clients that includes Saffron Housing Group and Orwell Housing Association.

Buckles Solicitors LLP continues to be a preferred legal adviser for numerous social housing landlords across East Anglia. Its core areas of expertise include housing management, anti-social behaviour and construction matters, and it is building a reputation for acquisitions and developments in the sector. The team, led by Gail Sykes, acts for more than 65 social housing providers across the South East, London, East Anglia and the East Midlands. The team recently acted for Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association in possession proceedings against a tenant who had provided false documents to obtain her tenancy. In another highlight the firm advised a large RP on a complex and sensitive matter relating to a complaint of alleged disability discrimination under the Equality Act by the RP and one of its employees in relation to the purchase of shared ownership property. King Street Housing, Suffolk Housing Society and Cross Keys Homes Limited are also clients.

Property partners Andrew Fleming and Gerry Field are the key figures at Blocks in Ipswich, which counts three registered social landlords among its clients. Fleming and Field act in large funding projects and regularly handle ‘golden brick’ transactions for social landlords. Licensed conveyance Kim Caley regularly handles property transactions in the social housing sector.


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