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  1. Commercial property: Elsewhere in the North West
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Clients of Brabners LLP’s Preston-based real estate department rate its β€˜very pragmatic and commercial advice’, β€˜quick response times’ and β€˜strength in depth’ across the retail, hospitality, landed estates and agricultural sectors. Headline work included advising Unstuffy Hotel Co on the disposal of the Linthwaite House Hotel, and assisting the National Football Museum with the grant of a sublease to a consortium led by ex-footballer Gary Neville. The team’s other clients include Sofology, EWM Group, Betterbathrooms (UK) and Parcel2Go.com. The β€˜very commercial, thorough, and on-the-ball’ Ross Shine leads the department, which includes and Charles Hansford, who is noted for his expertise in mines and minerals, agricultural and landed estate matters. Associate Helen Ryan is also recommended.

Gorvins Solicitors provides an β€˜excellent’ and β€˜responsive’ service that covers leases, landlord and tenant matters and leasehold estate management work, as well as acquisitions and disposals, funding, and development agreements for both commercial, residential and mixed-use developments. Secured lending work and real estate restructuring matters are also mainstays of the practice, which advised The Society of Oddfellows on the Β£9m forward funding for the development of B&M and Aldi stores; acted for H20 Urban (No 2) on securing an option over a significant strategic land site; assisted Orbit Investments (Properties) with the Β£4.6m disposal of a partially completed shell unit; and advised Bridgebank Capital Investment Management on five loans. Seddon Developments, Hamilton Heath Estates, Brass Bank and Urban Splash are also clients. Managing partner Martin Hoare heads the team and β€˜shows great commercial acumen’; he advises on commercial and residential development and investment work and is recommended alongside Claire Beaumont and Samantha Marcus, who handle investment deals and regularly work with lending institutions. Consultant Colin Mellor joined in 2016 from LHS Solicitors LLP.

Niche specialist property firm Land Law LLP is adept at property transactions, property disputes, as well as banking and property finance matters. Highlights included advising Hollins Murray Group on the freehold acquisition of 50 King Street, Manchester, from Northumberland Estates. Managing partner Angus Whyte heads the team, which includes the β€˜first-class’ Helen Davidson, who specialises in development work;Paul Grundy who primarily acts for developers, investors, and landlords, as well as surveyors; Andrea Lawrence, whose clients include property development companies; property finance team head Hans Scheiwiller; and Sarah Bonwick, who handles investment, development, and property finance matters. Claire Chapman recently left the firm to join gunnercooke LLP.

Myerson Solicitors LLP’s team handles development and property management work, as well as real estate transactions, for a range of private property companies, owner-managed businesses, and investors. Jeremy Lee and Andrew Chapman continued to advise Mosley Street Ventures on the Two St Peters Square development in Manchester. Chapman led Fortis Developments on the purchase and forward sale of a site at The Green Quarter in Manchester, while Lee advised the same client on the acquisition of various parcels of land that make up the Adelphi Wharf development in Salford. Joanne Perritt, delivers β€˜good quality work’ and advised Svenska Handelsbanken on a number of property portfolio refinancings. Convergys, Lad Bible Group and Taskers are also clients. Also recommended are the β€˜personable and very knowledgeable’ Richard Lloyd, and Mark Gillies, who joined in 2016 from Laytons.

Aaron & Partners LLP’s β€˜experienced’ department handles a range of commercial property matters including secured lending, property investment and asset management. Its sector expertise covers renewable energy and waste management, charities and education, utilities, student and city centre developments, as well as agriculture and landed estates. Highlights included acting for Pinnacle Group on a development site at St James Street, Liverpool, and advising Prime Central London on a South London development, which involved the exchange of options to acquire three separate interests in a former public house, and a contract for the onward sale of the property. Knights of Old, Galliers Properties, KingKabs, DΕ΅r Cymru Cyfyngedig and Mostyn Estates are also clients. Simon Ellis heads the department and is singled out for his expertise in the utilities and charities sector, as well as handling broader development work. Trish Randles conducts landlord and tenant matters, as well as portfolio management work. Senior associate Lisa Moncur recently joined from Land Law LLP and is experienced in diocesan and ecclesiastical property matters.

The β€˜exceptional’ team at DTM Legal LLP is based across its Liverpool and Chester offices and handles a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Highlights included advising the Atmore Group on the sale of 52 auction properties for Β£20m. Team head Anna Duffy is experienced in property litigation, and also advises investment and retail clients on landlord and tenant matters. Other key figures include Liverpool-based consultant Robert Harris, who is β€˜practical and commercial’ and handles a range of transactional matters; recently promoted partner Sally Pilott, who is based in Chester and advises on acquisitions, site assembly, section agreements and the disposal of large housing developments; and associates Victoria Evans in Liverpool and Michael Wright in Chester.

The β€˜established and professional team’ at Forbes Solicitors β€˜goes above and beyond to ensure that transactions get completed on time and efficiently as possible’. The team handles a range of real estate matters, ranging from pension fund commercial property transactions to commercial and residential property developments, with expertise in the retail, health and sports sectors. Highlights included advising WEC Group on the Β£7m purchase of an industrial unit. Other clients include Taylor Patterson (Pensions), Lawrence Hunt & Co, Rushcliffe, GPC SIPP, Burnley Football Club and Blackburn Rovers Football Club. The β€˜extremely efficient’ team, whi is praised for its β€˜proactive advice’ and β€˜flexible’ approach, is headed by Adam Bromley, who is noted for his experience in pension-related matters. He is assisted by Tim Hollingsworth, who handles the sale and purchase of development sites; the β€˜very experienced’ Stuart Shorthouse, who is recommended for the sale, purchase and leasing of commercial property; and the β€˜very able’ Richard Clithero, who is active in secured lending.

Hillyer McKeown LLP handles the acquisition and disposal of commercial property, leasing, developments, pension fund transactions and property finance. Team head Caroline Jones is advising on the refinancing of a major redevelopment at the Tower Wharf Development in Birkenhead as a prelude to an inter-company restructuring and leaseback refinance for The Contact Company. Ian Millington advised Handelsbanken on the Β£1m refinancing of two industrial properties, and associate Dewi Paddock assisted Halfords Autocentre with the acquisition of new sites, which included including planning, development and construction advice. David Wright heads the residential property team, and Phil McKeown handles a range of acquisitions and disposals, commercial lending, site acquisition, and redevelopment matters.

Jolliffe & Co LLP β€˜always delivers on time’ and advises owner-occupiers, restaurant and pub chains, charities, landed estates and farmers, entrepreneurs, developers and investors on an array of property-related mandates. The team advised FJ Need on the transfer of 22 acres into the company and negotiated a separate pre-emption and option agreement for additional land. Other highlights included advising Power Solutions UK on an office lease at City Place, Chester, and acting for Cheshire Barn Homes on the purchase of a site for residential development. James Harris handles high-value freehold and leasehold commercial real estate acquisitions, with an emphasis on the leisure sector, and Huw Thomas is noted for his transactional expertise. Senior associate William Ngan joined in 2016 from Addleshaw Goddard and is noted for tax-related matters. Consultant Guy Morris is recommended for licensing matters.

Napthens LLP’s team is praised for its β€˜depth of expertise’ and β€˜first-class’ service across a range of commercial property mandates, with a particular specialism in the leisure sector. Highlights included advising Danbro on a etting to VolkerRail related to the former Land Registry building in Lytham, and assisted Seven Bro7hers with the property requirements related to its first Manchester city centre bar. It also advised Emporia Leisure on the major redevelopment of Holmes Mill in Lancashire. WH Bowker, Blackpool Grand Theatre Trust, Fagan & Whalley and Daniel Thwaites are also clients. In 2016, team head Paul Hardy joined the firm from Hempsons, and John Lomax joined from Hill Dickinson LLP. Also recommended are Martin Long, who is β€˜always calm and considered’ and β€˜very responsive’, James Allison, and recently promoted partner Marc Appleton.

The team at SAS Daniels LLP attracts praise for its β€˜excellent service’ and β€˜very commercial’ advice. Its expertise covers development work, particularly in the residential sector, and the team is also noted for its experience in promotion agreements and land disposal matters. Gladman Developments, Anwyl Land, Alliance Living, Frederic Robinson, Bell Developments (NW), South Staffordshire Water and Peaks and Plains Housing Trust are clients. Nigel Read and James Clarke (an β€˜efficient and an extremely strong communicator’) jointly head the team, which includes Roger Allsup, who is recommended for construction disputes and transactions; Andrew Clark, who handles development matters, and provides advice on leasing and portfolio management; and the β€˜very experienced’ Neil Powell, who advises a number of developers and is experienced in mixed-use regeneration schemes, and education sector mandates. Associate James Goddard is recommended for agricultural matters.

Hibberts LLP regularly handles high-value commercial property transactions, as well as acting for local landlords and tenants in relation to commercial leases and lease extensions. Carolyn Brooksbank heads the team.

JWK Solicitors advises on high-value property transactions, including the acquisition of large commercial sites, as well as development and dispersal matters. The team has recently handled a range of matters including high-value office leases, leases to national supermarkets, complex land exchanges between local authorities and private developers, dilapidations claims, and car park management schemes. Peter Bujakowski heads the department.

Slater and Gordon’s commercial property practice handles high-volume landlord property work, secured lending, and agriculture and estates mandates. The team also has expertise in the energy and utilities sectors. Highlights included advising FI Real Estate Management on the sale of industrial premises and on the grant of leases in respect of industrial and office premises, and advising Event Marketing Solutions on the purchase of a new office and warehouse facility in Ellesmere Port. Team head Stephen Lunt acts for landlords on lease management matters, advises developers in the energy industry, and acts for utility companies in the acquisition of easements. Paul Makinson advises on freehold and leasehold sales and purchases, auctions, and commercial lending, and is particularly noted for rural property matters. In 2016, Victoria Jones joined the Chester office from Knights Professional Services Limited, and Mark Alexander joined the growing Preston office from Vincents Solicitors. Helen Nash recently left the firm to join Knights Professional Services Limited.

Slater Heelis LLP fields an β€˜approachable’ and β€˜very user-friendly’ team of β€˜skilled professionals’ that is noted for its banking and financial sector expertise, particularly in relation to commercial lending. The team is also adept at residential matters, and has a particular focus on advising high-net-worth clients. Highlights included acting for a blue-chip insurance company on the purchase of an iconic building in Liverpool for its new UK headquarters, and advising Orange Grove Developments on the purchase of a proposed residential development in Manchester. The team also advised a property investment company on the purchase of Kings Way Business Centre. Clients applaud the team’s ability to β€˜talk in layman’s terms to get the message across’, and single out the β€˜exceptional’ Mike Fox for commercial matters; Edward Michell, who heads the residential property team; and Hannah Al-Shaghana, who handles a range of acquisitions, disposals, secured lending and landlord and tenant matters. Zara Banday and Stephen Locke are recommended for residential property matters. Associate Olajide Jay Lafinhan is also noted.

Blackstone Solicitors Limited fields an β€˜efficient, effective, and very commercially savvy’ team handles a range of commercial property matters including developments, leases, and site acquisitions. Clients include Entertainment Magpie, which the team advises on lease transactions for various shopping centres, and The Fragrance Shop, which the team assists with lease transactions, including a new lease in the Manchester Arndale. It is also advising Ladson Developments on the acquisition of Archer House, Stockport for a residential conversion. House Crowd Project is also a key client. Clients single out the β€˜responsive’ Nick Jackson, Michelle Rothburn, who is β€˜very knowledgeable on all commercial property matters’, and head of residential property David Walton.

Butcher & Barlow LLP’s β€˜prompt and commercial’ department attracts praise for its β€˜fantastic service levels’. The team’s expertise covers land acquisitions, planning and development in the commercial and residential sectors, public house sales and purchases, and refinancing matters. Highlights included advising Joseph Holt on the purchase of four public houses. John Hyatt heads the team.

Chafes Hague Lambert LLP acts for landlords and tenants in relation to commercial lease work and disputes, and advises on investment sales and purchases, commercial and residential development acquisitions, secured lending, distressed property and real estate restructuring matters. H A Marks, Playdemic, Harrington & Hallworth, County Milk Products, Cambrian Homes and Investar Property Group are clients. Team head Daniel Woodcock is β€˜extremely thorough in his work; very proactive and quick to respond’. He is assisted by β€˜impressive’ consultant Mike Travis and Andrew Pettitt.

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Legal Developments in North West for Commercial property: Elsewhere in the North West

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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