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  1. Commercial property: Newcastle
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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.

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