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Commercial property: Newcastle

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Newcastle
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Jonathan Combe - Muckle LLP
    • Richard Freeman-Wallace - Hay & Kilner
    • Adam Heather - DWF
    • Adrian Hill - Muckle LLP
    • Martin Levinson - Tilly Bailey & Irvine
    • Sean Logue - Baines Wilson LLP
    • John Ralph - Bond Dickinson LLP
    • Neil Robson - Ward Hadaway
    • Geoff Skeoch - Jacksons Law
    • Christopher Todd - Archers Law LLP
    • Simon Wake - Endeavour Partnership LLP

Bond Dickinson LLP’s practice is co-led by John Ralph, who is ‘very pleasant to work with’, and Nigel Emmerson, who advises public and private housing clients and residential investors. Emmerson led for Grainger plc on the purchase of 614 individual leasehold units across England and Scotland. Other clients include Bellway Homes, Arriva, Akelius and The Vista PRS Fund. The ‘very efficient and diligent’ Barbara Painter is also recommended.

Under the leadership of managing partner Adam Heather, DWF fields a practice that combines ‘very good service’ with ‘strength-in-depth’. Senior associate Sarah Crone, who is noted for her ‘practical advice and good negotiating skills’, recently led a matter for Arch Housing in relation to the acquisition and development of various residential sites.

Muckle LLP’s team is led by Jonathan Combe, who acts for clients including McAleer & Rushe, Clouston Group, Newcastle University and new client Harrison Developments. The ‘service-driven and commercially astute’ Adrian Hill recently acted for UK Land Estates Partnership on its £22m sale of a multi-let business park. Gail Bennett was recently promoted to the partnership.

Ward Hadaway’s team has been acting for new client Peart Property on its purchase of an industrial unit subject to existing tenancies for investment purposes. Alex Cox, whose main focus is property development, led this matter and is recommended alongside planning expert and team head Neil Robson, and Lesley Fairclough, who specialises in commercial and residential development and complex site disposals.

Hay & Kilner’s clients commend the ‘exceptional service’ provided by the team, which ‘goes the extra mile’. Highlights have included acting for longstanding clients Chisholm Bookmakers on a range of issues spanning lease grants, lease renewals, licences for alterations, and the grant of underleases and conditional agreements for the acquisition of new premises. Nicola Tiffen leads the team, which includes Richard Freeman-Wallace, who is ‘invaluable in lease acquisition issues’, and the highly regarded Paul Taylor.

At Short Richardson & Forth LLP, team head Paul Earnshaw has an excellent reputation for his ‘friendly, approachable, calm and efficient approach’. The team, which clients rate for its ‘great value for money’, recently acted for new client High Gosforth Park in a number of transactions connected with the multimillion-pound redevelopment of Newcastle Racecourse.

Sintons LLP’s ‘knowledgeable, efficient and committed’ team recently acted for The Church Commissioners for England on the £40m sale of a nine-storey office block in central London. Team head Mark Dobbin, landlord and tenant specialist Laura Peace, consultant Claire Morgan and energy projects specialist Paul Liddle are all recommended.

Watson Burton LLP’s practice acted for the University of Sunderland on a joint venture with Sunderland City Council to sell several plots of land to a developer to build a hotel, as well as the acquisition of additional, adjoining land by the university of a listed building for its campus redevelopment project. Leeds-based David Pridmore (who works closely with the Newcastle team) specialises in development, ground rent, and on investments into and disposals of property portfolios. Julie Farrell-Knowles acts for landlord and tenants.

Hempsons’ practice is led by Stephanie Green, who specialises in assisting GPs with acquiring and developing new premises. Other areas of expertise include acquisitions and disposals of freehold and leasehold properties, estate management, joint developments, and advising clients on tender processes for various services contracts.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s team is led by Ryan Bannon, who specialises in the financing aspects of developments, as well as landlord and tenant and investment matters. Recent work includes assisting a national retailer with the management of its lease portfolio and advising a Newcastle-based property group on the refinancing of 21 commercial properties.

Commercial property: Elsewhere in the North

Archers Law LLP’s ‘thoroughly professional, attentive and responsive team’ includes Rachel List, who joined from Bond Dickinson LLP in 2015 and is ‘fantastic at providing great advice in an attentive and timely manner’. Patrick Quigley led the team acting for Churchill Property Services on the £4.4m sale of a freehold site in Aycliffe Business Park, which includes 40 occupied units. Highly experienced team head Christopher Todd acts for a broad range of clients spanning private individuals and businesses, local authorities and charitable institutions.

Sean Logue leads Baines Wilson LLP’s practice, which is noted for providing ‘an excellent overall service’. Clients single out the ‘experienced, dedicated’ Laura Barnfield for her ‘ability to remain calm in difficult scenarios’. Duncan Harty is experienced in landlord and tenant transactions, acquisitions and disposals, and residential and commercial developments.

At Burnetts, Tony Lake advised Blackburn College on its joint arrangement with Darwen Borough Council on the construction of a new £7m sports and aqua centre. Other key figures include Richard Miller, whose expertise includes agricultural and commercial sale and purchase agreements, and senior associate Robbie Mather.

Clients of Endeavour Partnership LLP’s team praise its service, ‘which is comparable to London firms but with a regional fee structure’. Team head Simon Wake recently handled the development and sale of a large development of student accommodation in Newcastle. Jamie Brown focuses on high-value agriculture transactions.

Mike Little leads Cartmell Shepherd’s practice and has expertise in handling commercial leases, agricultural property and land development. Andrew Marquis handles land securities, estate development and site assembly matters for developers.

At Jacksons Law, managing partner Jane Armitage led for JM Property Investments on the £1m purchase of a new retail unit on a long leasehold. Team head Geoff Skeoch is experienced in development work and also acts for investment clients.

Latimer Hinks Solicitors’ team is ‘very quick to respond and doesn’t baffle clients with legal jargon’, Nicola Neilson and Neil Stevensonboth have a wide range of knowledge and are quick to update clients’. Stevenson leads the team and recently acted for a client in the purchase of a hotel and subsequent planning permission to convert into apartments.

At Tilly Bailey & Irvine, Andrew Beattie ‘provides first-rate property advice’ and is ‘a great example of a commercially pragmatic lawyer’. The team recently acted for a bank in the refinancing of a business park and two investment properties worth £3m. Martin Levinson heads the team.

BHP Law has wide-ranging real estate expertise spanning disposals and acquisitions, landlord and tenant matters, large-scale land developments and agricultural tenancy. The highly experienced Peter Blackett leads the team and acts for local developer Bussey & Armstrong on a number of residential developments.

Swinburne Maddison’s team is praised for its experience in the sale and purchase of freehold properties, negotiation of leases, and for its litigation capability. Key figures include John Davison, who is ‘a calm and incisive all-rounder’, Victoria Walton, whose ‘advice is always reliable’, and Gillian Moir, who is ‘extremely thorough and has a total grasp of the details’.


Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals

Recent highlights for Bond Dickinson LLP’s practice include acting for an educational institution on negotiating the terms of an architect and lead consultant’s appointment for a new building project. Simon Lewis leads the team and is recommended for his construction litigation strengths, and Simon Rowland is recommended for his ‘pragmatic approach and sound interpretations’.

DAC Beachcroft LLP attracts praise for its ‘excellent quality of work and timely delivery’. Roddy Gordon, Warren Kemp and James Harrison lead the team, which acts for a range of clients including contractors, insurers, house builders and public sector bodies.

Muckle LLP recently advised Muse Developments Limited on the first stage of the redevelopment of South Shields town centre. Keith Bishop leads the team, which includes Robert Langley, who is rated for his ‘superb knowledge of construction law’, and associate Adam Aston, who attracts praise for his ‘commercial awareness and appropriate advice’.

Ward Hadaway recently advised Hitachi Transport System Europe on a project to design and construct a logistics facility for Nissan’s Sunderland plant. Tim Craig has taken up the role of team head following Ralph Wrighton’s retirement.

Eversheds LLP’s practice is led by the ‘excellentMary Anne Roff, whose ‘combination of strategic nous and great attention to detail inspires confidence’. Lucy Frith also attracts praise for her ‘great eye for detail and ability to see the wider picture’. Clients include Severn Trent Water, RWE Innogy and Teesside Windfarm.

Sintons LLP’s construction practice is led by Graeme Ritzema, who regularly advises Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and which includes associates Kevin Anderson and Alex Rayner. Recent mandates include assisting a large regional care home developer with its construction contracts.

Richard Palmer leads Watson Burton LLP’s practice, which regularly acts for architects, engineers, contractors and project managers. Sarah Wilson is also recommended.


Clients rate the overall level of service at Bond Dickinson LLP as ‘first class’, citing the ‘confidence-inspiring advice and the team’s excellent understanding of the environmental field’ as key factors in its success. Stuart Wardlaw heads the practice and regularly acts for commercial, industrial and public sector clients. Highlights included advising a manufacturer on its dealings with regulators concerning a waste pile left at a site adjacent to the client’s premises which was causing nuisance, including advising on potential civil and statutory remedies.

Ward Hadaway’s Mark Whitehead advised New Mill Biogas on the development of a multimillion-pound anaerobic digestion biogas project in Yorkshire. Neil Robson and Stephen Graham are co-heads of the team, which has a range of environmental experience spanning landfill and quarry development issues, contaminated land and environmental damage claims, financial provision agreements for waste management licenses, and pollution and flooding issues.

Standout figures in Clyde & Co LLP’s environmental law practice include James Thompson, who is ‘focused upon achieving the best reputational and commercial outcomes for clients’, and Kirsty Gomersal, who regularly advises clients who are being investigated by the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.

At Eversheds LLP, contentious specialist Tim Hill regularly handles matters relating to pollution and waste offences, and assists with challenges to statutory notices.

Paul Liddle and Karen Simms at Sintons LLP are the key contacts and have experience in surface mines, biofuel projects, wind farms, energy from waste projects and bespoke energy contracts.


Bond Dickinson LLP has been advising Hartlepool Borough Council on a project to redevelop the sea front at Seaton Carew, which includes a compulsory purchase order process. Other recent highlights include providing strategic planning advice to Bellway Homes as part of a consortium in connection with a 1600-unit development. Frank Orr is the key contact in the Newcastle office.

Recent highlights for Ward Hadaway’s planning practice include acting for Persimmon Homes on objections to a village green application. Robin Atkin led on that matter and has expertise in negotiating section 106 agreements, highway matters and interpreting planning permissions. Neil Robson specialises in energy-related planning issues and has acted in town planning and compulsory purchase inquiries. Kamran Hyder joined in February 2016 from Bond Dickinson LLP.

Property litigation

Bond Dickinson LLP is noted for its ‘high-quality and professional work and excellent client care’. Jen Smurthwaite leads the practice, which was appointed sole property adviser to retailer River Island in 2015, and gained Jack Wills as a new client. The firm is also on Taylor Wimpey’s panel and is advising Grainger plc on the management of its retirement solutions portfolio. Associate Elspeth Moncrieff is ‘excellent at managing litigation, and knows how to achieve the best result possible for the client – she also has a realistic grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of a case’.

At Hay & Kilner, the highly regarded Martin Soloman ‘who is ‘admirably calm in a crisis’’ leads the team, and recently led a matter involving a dilapidations claim for a country house and estate. Other key figures include Lucy Gray, who is ‘always prompt with responses and is able to clearly explain very complex matters’. The team’s recent experience includes acting in mismanagement claims relating to flooding and collapse of culverts.

Ward Hadaway’s practice is led by Sharon Mathieson, who acts for national supermarket chains in landlord and contractor disputes. New clients include Virgin Money and Calibre Search.

Watson Burton LLP recently acted for a client in a breach of covenant claim concerning the lease of a property in London worth in excess of £10m. Gavin Winter, who led on that matter, heads the practice and ‘brings a commercial awareness to the table to ensure clients get the best outcome’. Winter also has particular expertise in dilapidation claims and contested lease renewals.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s Susan Roberts is noted for her expertise in contractual disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, and insolvency matters. The team continues to provide litigation and case-planning advice to a longstanding client in the retail sector, including covering cross-border issues.

Muckle LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable and engaging’ team is headed by Charlotte McMurchie, who is rated by clients for her combination of ‘excellent professional skills and friendly and engaging personality’. Recent matters include acting for Malhotra Group in an ongoing dispute with its tenant in relation to the tenant’s plans to carry out work on the property.

Sintons LLP handled a claim for possession of four residential properties following a compulsory purchase order from a local authority. Graeme Ritzema, who co-heads the team with Angus Ashman, ‘has excellent contract law and construction litigation skills’.

David Low leads Swinburne Maddison’s team, which has been dubbed ‘one of the most progressive and efficient in the market’. Jonathan Moreland and Kate Stephenson ‘have a wealth of knowledge’ and the team welcomed Jennifer Pearson from Bond Dickinson LLP in 2015. The team continues to defend a local authority in relation to housing disrepair claims.

Social housing

Bond Dickinson LLP’s practice is led by residential property specialist Nigel Emmerson. The team’s specialisms include contentious and non-contentious housing and property services, acting for local authorities on their house building activity, development and regeneration, finance aspects of social housing, and governance and strategy. Recent mandates include advising on a number of statutory lease extension claims.

Following the departures of Mitch Brown and Adrian Stanley, DWF’s key contact is Lee Pickett, who focuses on regeneration and public sector development projects. The team acts for local authorities such as Northumberland Council, Stockton Borough Council, and Sunderland Council.

David Gray Solicitors LLP’s team is led by Paula Harris, who recently defended a high-net-worth mortgage repossession case. In addition to acting for not-for-profit organisations, the firm also receives referrals from local authorities and local courts. Natalie Kidd is the key contact in the South Shields office.

Muckle LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable and engaging’ team is led by Russell Hall and acts for a variety of registered providers, local authorities, house builders and funders. Bernicia Housing, Two Castles, YMCA Sunderland and North Tyneside Council are new clients.

Ward Hadaway’s recent highlights include assisting a national housing association with a complex leasehold service charge consultation under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Leeds-based John Murray leads the group and Helen O’Neill is the key contact in Newcastle.

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