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  1. Commercial property: Hampshire
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Who Represents Who

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Blake Morgan LLPhas always demonstrated the highest level of expertise, with good business acumen’. The team handles the full spectrum of commercial property matters including high-value plot development acquisitions, property disposals, contract negotiations and development matters. The firm advised Metro Bank on its store rollout programme, which involved advising the client on £11.8m-worth of freehold acquisitions. It also continued to assist Costa Coffee with asset management matters as well as site acquisition and refurbishment issues. Bellway Homes, Premier Inn and Premier Marinas are also on the client roster. Sean Palka and Christopher Dolan head the practice; they specialise in real estate matters and agriculture issues, respectively. Also recommended are commercial development and asset management expert Oliver Sowton, social housing specialist John Russell, waste management and business park development expert Andy Peck, and retail property specialist Alan Harlow. Senior associate Anna Larbi ‘is very efficient, thorough, prompt and professional’. Mark Charter joined Thrings LLP.

Bond Dickinson LLP is well-known for advising clients in the retail sector on leasehold acquisitions, site development matters and relocation mandates; the team also handles property finance, infrastructure project matters and portfolio management. Highlights included advising Capital Industrial on its £80m acquisition of the Heston Airlinks industrial estate from SEGRO, and assisting Boxpark with the Boxpark Croydon development, which involved negotiations for the leasing of 35 shipping container units to be used as retail space. Other highlights included assisting the Crown Estate with coastal infrastructure development for the Hinkley Point C power station, including assisting with lease agreements, land acquisition matters and offshore infrastructure issues; and advising Specsavers on its development of a lens manufacturing facility in Kidderminster, including advising on the funding agreements and structuring the £12m transaction. The firm also specialises in advising on marine property matters including managing coastal property portfolios and international cable agreement matters. Other clients include Moorfield Group, Tristan Capital and Ladbrokes Coral. Tim Burbidge heads the practice and specialises in advising corporate occupiers and clients in the education sector. He is ably supported by property finance expert and retail property practice head Alistair Walton, senior counsel and marine real estate specialist Tim Baily, and real estate investment portfolio specialist William Akerman.

For some, Moore Blatch LLP is ‘head and shoulders above the competition’. The firm has a fine reputation for freehold and leasehold acquisitions, plot developments and planning matters for commercial developers, lenders and banks. The firm advised Greenham Common Community Trust on the £5m sale of a leasehold interest to Nationwide, and assisted Drake & Morgan with on property issues arising from its acquisition of shares in Corney & Barrow Bars. It advised the same client on acquiring a lease for two Manchester venues. Relcap Developments, Foreman Homes and Churchill Retirement Living are also clients. Mike Wilson heads the real estate practice, which includes Luc Algar who is ‘like a business partner for clients and always thinks of the long-term relationship’; land development expert Martin Duck; and land acquisition specialist Charles Cantoni. The firm saw two new partner hires in 2016: planning expert Bernard Ralph joined from GCL Solicitors (Gellhorn Cooney Laugharne), and property finance expert Lee Edwards joined from Irwin Mitchell.

The team at Clarke Willmott LLPis very efficient, commercial and has strength-in-depth’. The firm handles the full range of commercial property matters including high-value portfolio management, property refinancing matters and leasehold issues. The team assisted Sheet Anchor Evolve with its £17m acquisition of a leasehold for 40 retail units at the Erith shopping centre and advised Lendy on the refinancing of an £18m nine-property portfolio, with the deal involving nine separate refinancing matters. Other highlights included advising Farland Developments with its £50m acquisition of a 10-acre brownfield site in Nottingham’s city centre, including assisting with the joint venture agreement and initial planning stages. The practice also advised Aster Communities on its acquisition of 83 properties from a construction company. Fat Face, Castelnau Acquisitions and Coyne Group are also clients. Department head Peter Swinburnhas a great approach to getting deals concluded’; he is an expert in property finance and portfolio management. Also recommended are property transactional specialist Andrew Cooper, who ‘is a fantastic, pragmatic lawyer’, and Paul Hinett.

Coffin Mew LLP’s ‘service is flexible and versatile, and is always able to cater to the client’s needs’. The firm continued to advise the Brighton West Pier Trust on the Brighton i360 project, which involved assisting with the funding and infrastructure agreements. In another highlight, the team assisted E-Crunch with securing a 10-year commercial lease for office premises in the Brighton area for £300,000 per annum. Its expertise also extends to land and site acquisitions, freehold and leasehold property disposals, and property finance. The firm also has specialist expertise advising on marine real estate matters and issues involving listed properties for commercial clients. Other clients include Santander, Crayfern Homes and TJ Transport. Practice head Nick Leavey is ‘personable, thorough and knowledgeable’; he is well-versed in mixed-use commercial developments and public sector properties. Clients also single out Peter Fellows, who ‘is a very good technical lawyer with a can-do approach’ and who focuses on property finance.

Lester Aldridge LLPconsistently delivers a very high standard of service, even on the most contentious and complex of issues’; the team has ‘high-calibre individuals with a vast breadth of experience and knowledge’. It frequently advises clients on high-value site acquisitions and divestments, portfolio management matters as well as freehold and leasehold management issues. The team has developed a specialty in advising clients on industrial estate acquisitions; highlights included assisting McCarthy & Stone with its £6.4m acquisition from Travis Perkins of the Churchfield industrial estate in Walton-on-Thames, including advising on the planning issues and infrastructure matters for the site. It also advised Norwich & Peterborough on multiple secured lending deals on commercial property venues, with an aggregate value of £50m. Other highlights included advising Lewis Investment on its several acquisitions of retail, office and leisure asset investments totalling £40m. Also on the client roster are Big Yellow, Care South and Bloor Homes. Practice head Matthew Barrow is ‘flexible, practical and willing to negotiate’, with experience in commercial property financing and portfolio management. The team also includes development head Roger Woolley, who advises on development agreements and disposals.

Paris Smith LLPprovides a service that feels in-house rather than being an external consultancy’. Often acting for developers, the firm regularly undertakes leasehold and freehold matters and property portfolio management. The team advised My Local Group on its disposal of 40 convenience stores following the client’s administration, as well as assisting Fat Face with the acquisition of its new warehouse located at Dunsbury Park from Portsmouth City Council. Other highlights included assisting Bargate Homes with multiple land development deal structures and subsequent acquisitions, including negotiating contracts and options for several sites; and advising Petchey Industrial Holdings with £10m-worth of leases for the client’s portfolio of commercial properties. Other clients include Hobbycraft, Associated British Ports and Alfred Homes. Mark Howarth heads the practice, which includes development specialist Joanne Spittles, who ‘possesses a comprehensive knowledge of property matters’ and who was promoted to partner in February 2016. Rachel Saint ‘is an exceptional team builder and always cognisant of the client’s nuances’. Estate management expert Tom Georgiou is also recommended.

The ‘very quick and knowledgeable’ team at Shoosmiths LLP assists clients in the public, education and healthcare sectors on land and property acquisitions and divestments, leasehold agreements and planning matters. It is currently advising NATS on its acquisition of a 25-year lease for part of the Daedalus airfield in Hampshire, as well as on the installation of a new air traffic control training facility. The team is also acting for Almacantar Centre Point Investment on multiple pre-lettings for retail units in Centre Point. Other highlights included assisting OHD 1, a subsidiary of the Orchard Homes group, on the £4.4m divestment of its development site for a 72-apartment retirement home, as well as advising Lifeways Finance on is acquisition of four leasehold sites to be purposed as healthcare units, with a combined annual income of £510,000. Seaward Properties, Hamleys and IKEA Properties Investments are also clients. Joanne McGuinness heads the practice and is noted for her expertise in transport and infrastructure matters. Other key figures include senior associate Cara Beveridge, who is an expert in option agreements and site acquisitions, as well as ‘first-class’ associate Jessica Ready, who specialises in portfolio management matters and investment issues.

Pitmans LLPprovides commercial, pragmatic and effective advice delivered without fuss’. It undertakes the full spectrum of commercial property matters, including specialist knowledge in marine-related commercial property issues, portfolio management and land acquisition mandates. The firm advised Premier Marinas on its £15m acquisition of a site on the River Dart in Devon, including negotiations with the Duchy of Cornwall, and is continuing to assist Red Funnel Ferries with the £20m purchase and redevelopment of a site in East Cowes from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). Other highlights included advising Elatum on two acquisitions in the Southampton region: the £1.6m acquisition of Linden House and £4.2m proposed purchase of Norwich Union House. Other clients include Historic Hotels of Sussex, Mildren Homes and The Wilton Carpet Factory. Nick Toddis very responsive, technically good and very thorough’, and John Newton’s ‘attention to detail is excellent’.

The ‘consistently excellent’ team at Trethowans LLP frequently handles a full range of commercial property matters including leasehold and freehold negotiations, acquisitions and divestments of properties, and development mandates. Its transactional expertise extends to secured lending finance as well as advising lenders on commercial property issues. Highlights included undertaking negotiations for commercial leases in the South as well as nationally, advising on land options, and assisting with high-value site acquisitions. Its client base includes Lloyds Bank, Sippchoice Trustees and Stannah Lifts Holdings. Property finance expert Paul Longman, who ‘is a highly experienced and knowledgeable commercial property lawyer’, heads the practice in Southampton, which includes Elizabeth Bryson, who joined the team from Warner Goodman LLP and is noted for her development expertise.

At Dutton Gregory LLP, ‘the service clients receive is generally excellent in terms of responsiveness, support, professionalism and expertise’. In 2016 the firm assisted Countrywide Estate Agents with its portfolio managements, and advised Caxton Properties on its £9m acquisition of Havelock Chambers in Southampton. Other clients include Remarkable Group, Rawlings Opticians and Saftdwin. Department head Alan Sydneyis fastidious and knowledgeable, but also commercial’; he specialises in commercial property investment work. Other key figures include retail and leisure sector expert Denise Bull, who ‘has a pragmatic and practical view of how to get things done in a cost-effective manner’, and commercial lease specialist Richard Brown who ‘is clear and concise in his communication’.

The ‘friendly and efficient’ team at Irwin Mitchell frequently advises lenders and developers on property refinancing matters, property acquisitions and divestments, and leasehold agreements. Clients include Micheldever Tyre Services, Santander and NatWest. The ‘quick and efficientDavid Fanchi heads the department and is an expert in property financing. He is ably supported by Philip Gray, who focuses on corporate occupier matters, and Tina Webster, who ‘has sound knowledge of development disputes and agreements’. Lee Edwards left the firm in December 2016 to join Moore Blatch LLP and Biddy Walker retired in April 2016.

Phillips Solicitors assists clients with lease negotiations, land and development acquisitions and divestments, and portfolio management matters. The team, which is based in Basingstoke, advised Hampshire Investments (Developments) and Lamedes on multiple commercial property acquisitions, as well as assisting Centerprise International with purchasing a commercial site in Solihull. Another highlight included assisting Portsmouth Estates with commercial property investments, divestments and acquisitions. Other clients are in the retail, IT and naval sectors. Jonathan Pender is the director of the firm and is experienced in development matters.

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Legal Developments in South East for Commercial property: Hampshire

  • 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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