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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Real estate > Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Other

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners
  4. Rising stars

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

The team at Barlow Robbins LLP combines expertise in commercial and residential acquisitions and disposals, secured lending and commercial landlord and tenant work. It attracts local regeneration work and handles  options, conditional contracts and promotion agreements. Helen Archibald oversees commercial property and Clare Andrews residential property work and Jo Farr is recommended  for her work with national retailers, investment landlords and property developers.

Practice head(s):Helen Archibald; Clare Andrews

Other key lawyers:Jo Farr; Daisy Waldren; Sara Abou-Jaoude

Testimonials

'I have found the whole team approachable, very knowledgeable, quickly return calls and pro-active in offering solutions.'

'Although a small team, they cover for each others well.'

'They are really nice people to deal with.'

'Special mention to Jo Farr who led the team.'

Key Clients

Svenska Handlesbanken

Lloyds Bank plc

Soaro Developments

Vapestore Retail Limited

The Halebourne Group

Magi Investments

Dehns

NEP Visions Limited

Jetts 247 Limited

Genesis Real Estate

Work highlights

  • Representing the Bank on the refinance of a significant property portfolio with lending of around £7m.
  • Acting on the conditional sale of a large development area of land to a national house builder, a deal valued at  £15m.
  • Acted for a niche developer setting up a development of ten high-end, high-value properties with bank funding. A matter valued at £10m.
  • Acted on the purchase of a newly constructed retail property from a national house builder.
  • Acting for a new lifestyle gym network and various new complex lease agreements, a matter valued at  £1.35m.

'Professional, pragmatic and comprehensive advice' is the hallmark of the Brachers team. It advises on the full scope of real estate matters including related finance in combination with sector expertise in areas such as education, primary care , charities, agriculture and energy. The 'exceptional' Sarah Gaines heads the charities sector work and the 'high-calibre' Bill Butler specialises in the health and education sectors. Ash Jilani  heads the primary care sector and has dealt with a number of new developments in that area. Sarah Webster's focus is on agriculture.

Practice head(s):Sarah Gaines

Other key lawyers:Bill Butler; Ash Jilani; Sarah Webster

Testimonials

'It provides a strong level of expertise across the real estate sector and is adept at involving and coordinating individual experts when needs arise.'

'Sarah Gaines provides an exceptional combination of professionalism and pragmatism with an ability to think outside the box and to deliver solutions to complex issues.'

'William Butler's advice is very sound. Bill is a lawyer who knows his subject and does not hesitate to lead negotiations towards desired outcomes, knowing when to compromise and when to hold firm.'

'Professional, pragmatic and comprehensive advice is the hallmark of the commercial property team at Brachers.'

 

Key Clients

Alan Firmin Limited

Durtnell Group

CAF Bank

Dover District Council

Daunt Books

Hadlow Group

Bethesda Medical Practice

Plumpton College

Orpington College

London and South East Colleges

Work highlights

  • Acted on all the aspects of the formalisation of a merger between Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College.
  • Acted for a consortium development for the provision of a relief road and 16,000 new houses, a matter valued at £1bn.
  • Acted for the landowner in the sale of a piece of agricultural land to a developer, conditional upon the developer obtaining planning permission for residential dwellings, a deal valued at £1.2m.
  • Advised on a number of secured lending transactions for a charity to facilitate a  property development.    
  • Assisted the client in respect of a new surgery development.

Clyde & Co LLP's Guildford team works in conjunction with other UK teams to provide a comprehensive service on the full range of transactions, contentious work and related planning, finance and tax. 'First rate' Adam Taylor-Smith and associate Choisanne Man are especially highlighted for their client-focused approach.

Practice head(s):Adam Taylor-Smith

Other key lawyers:Martin Quicke;John Pearce; Choisanne Man

Testimonials

'A very personal service from a team of talented lawyers. They understand our business and their advice is commercial, which often isn't  the case.'

'Adam Taylor Smith and Choisanne Mann both have the depth of experience coupled with business acumen to give appropriate advice in a timely manner. They are fun to deal with and really feel like part of the team and that our business matters.'

Key Clients

Crew Clothing Co

Saltrock Surfwear

Hotel San Francisco SA

Createfuture

Integra 61

Regatta

Screwfix

Ecoworld

Wylands Capital

Meyrick Estates

Freshwater Group/Daejan Holdings Plc

Frogmore Property Group

Lai Sun Development Group

C & J Clark International

Grainger Plc

Helical Plc

Urban & Civic

Ares UK

Invesco

Spelthorne Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advised on client's first property acquisition in the UK and on all aspects of the development site in central London. The land value is £175m.
  • Advising on all aspects of two significant central London development sites, valued at more than £500m.
  • Acting for the client on the disposal of the Magnus portfolio comprising 20 industrial properties across the UK to Blackstone for £150m.
  • Acting on two high-profile transactions involving a major Canadian pension fund, with values of circa £75m and circa £40m.

The 'highly rated' team at Cripps Pemberton Greenish  serves an impressive range of clients from landed estates to institutional investors, shopping centre developers and housebuilders. One of the largest regional practices, the team is led by Mike Scott and Richard Blackman who heads up work for real estate developers. Garry Brett leads on private rented and build to rent work, acting for investors.

Practice head(s):Mike Scott; Richard Blackman

Other key lawyers:Garry Brett; Glenn Miller; Sarah Ferguson

Key Clients

Eastbourne Borough Council

Bishop Stortford North Consortium (Bovis Homes,Crest Nicholson, Taylor

Wimpey , Bunny Family Interests)

Sandro

Infosys Limited

Optivo

Runnymede Borough Council

Kennedy Wilson

Kato Kagaku Co Limited

Wates Developments

Hermes Real Estate

Work highlights

  • Property advice on all aspects of the purchase and redevelopment of Hampden Retail Park in Eastbourne, with a development value of £30m.
  • Advised on the purchase of land earmarked for 1,880 units at a new site at Whitely in Hampshire including collaboration agreements on multiple land parcels.
  • Acted for this luxury French fashion brand and part of the SMCP group in acquiring a new store on Regent Street to create a new triple fronted London flagship store and simultaneously completed a surrender and new lease with the Crown Estate.
  • Advising on a new London office for Brilliant Basics, an Infosys company across two floors at the new Helical development.
  • Assisting on the purchase of 70 affordable housing flats at a site close to the former Olympic games venue which was subject to a lengthy Section 106 agreement. The transaction is valued at £7.9m.

Mundays LLP counts retailers, developers and high-net worth individuals in its client roster and covers projects across the country. Michael Nixon leads a team that deals with acquisitions and disposals of all types of real estate and extends to property finance matters including secured lenders. Kevin Healy leads the residential development work, and partner Nish Kapoor, who covers London and Surrey, joined the London team in January 2018 from Hilmi + Partners LLP.

Practice head(s):Michael Nixon

Other key lawyers:Kevin Healy; Victor Barker; Gemma James; Nish Kapoor

Key Clients

Papa John’s

Nationwide Self Storage

MHA (London)

Stonegate Land & Property

Work highlights

  • Provides ongoing assistance regarding numerous development sites, including a range of leasing matters.
  • Advised on the  sale of the freehold of a former mill which extends to around 175,000 square feet. The mill was offered for sale with full planning consent for conversion into 213 luxury residential units and commercial use. This involves a range of complex commercial tenancy issues with the current tenants.
  • Advised on the acquisition of an office building for future development which is proceeding by way of the purchase of shares in the company that owns the building.
  • Represented this housing  developer on an agreement to purchase a large site which is currently a leisure facility and where there is an  unconditional agreement for  redevelopment and planning for a residential redevelopment.
  • Advised on the unconditional purchase of part of a college site for development as a residential redevelopment.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP attracts regional and national clients thanks to its end-to-end expertise that includes planning, construction, property litigation and  finance. It also has an impressive range of panel appointments. The range of work encompasses developments including social housing, student accommodation, retail, leisure and industrial projects as well as high-value landlord and tenant work. The 'outstanding' Mike Busby leads the team and senior associate Sam Davies is also highlighted for his client-centric approach.

Practice head(s):Mike Busby

Other key lawyers:Tim Davies; Tony Burns; Sam Davies; Graham Dixon

Testimonials

'They are commercial aware, practical and  willing to support our business.'

'The team is a set of incredibly hard-working, personable professionals that consistently provide top-notch advice and representation whilst understanding the client's position beyond just the singular transaction.'

'Mike Busby is always quick to respond and takes an interest in and understands our business.'

'Mike Busby is an outstanding asset to the firm. His extensive expertise is readily available at all times. He encourages and develops his team to ensure they can also provide us with the best service on all instructions and billing is completely transparent.'

'Sam Davies works incredibly hard on many, often complicated instructions, ensuring documents are reviewed promptly and contain specific client-friendly clauses.'

'Sam Davies has a calm and matter of fact approach.'

 

Key Clients

Cranleigh Village Hospital Trust

Future Street (Plymouth)

The Cube (Runcorn)

Flight Centre (UK)

PRS Operations

NoCo Hotels

Antony Collier

Steven and Simon Hunt (landowners)

Higher Drive Nursing Homes (Holdings)

Work highlights

  • Assisting on the c.£10m development of a site for an 80-bed care home with staff accommodation. The matter involved a challenge to the use of the site and a complex structure of leases, subleases and linked guarantees/NHS block contracts.
  • Advised on the proposed purchase of a site in Plymouth conditional on obtaining planning for a residential middle market, later living development of  more than 250 beds.  
  • Acting for the purchaser of a multi-million pound industrial unit  and acting on the subsequent sale.

  • Drafted and negotiated an amendment and restatement of the term loan facility agreement for the lender, a matter valued at around £21m.

Stevens & Bolton LLP serves an impressive breadth of retail and leisure, developer, and investor clients in addition to lenders; it is on the panel of a number of banks. Andrew Steele is highly rated for his experience in the healthcare sector and for advising corporate occupiers. Howard Lupton's expertise includes industrial and out of town retail developments, joint ventures and forward funding. 'Trusted partner' Alex Watt is valued for his work on all types of acquisitions and related funding and he and Jonathan Cope 'work tirelessly to support [clients] and ensure the service given is exceptional.'

Practice head(s):Andrew Steele

Other key lawyers:Howard Lupton; Alex Watt; Daryl Rivero

Testimonials

'Utterly reliable, always upbeat and efficient and an absolute pleasure to deal with. Despite a significant workload, matters are allocated around the team to ensure swift turnaround without compromising on the quality of the work.'

'An experienced and knowledgeable team which proactively acts for their clients' best interests. The team have a good understanding of client views and requirements. Service is efficient and second to none.'

'The firm have a fresh approach to client engagement.'

'Alex Watt is a pleasure to deal with, providing detailed expert knowledge together with pragmatic advice where appropriate.'

'Alex Watt is interested in developing a long-term relationship rather than one-off fees - which is exactly what we have been looking for.' 

Key Clients

Hambridge Limited

Diebold Nixdorf

University of Surrey

Store Property Investments

Montreaux Developments

Wimshurst-Pelleriti

Octopus Healthcare Developments

International Schools Partnership

Kia Motors

TGI Friday’s

Work highlights

  • In a deal valued at £13.5m, acted on the sale of a multi-let industrial estate in Sandhurst.      
  • Valued at £12.5m, advised on the  sale and leaseback of Claremont Independent School. The buyer was the Index Linked Income Fund.
  • Acted for the client, a property investment vehicle, on its acquisition of Greenside Lane Retail Park and Droylsden Shopping Centre  - an acquisition of a significant multi-let retail asset.
  • Advised on a conditional sub-purchase of part of a larger residential development site in respect of a care home development. The matter, valued at £4.8m,  included advice on planning, construction and tax.
  • Acted for a new developer client on the conditional contracts and acquisition arrangements for a new mixed-use development site in London.

Thomson Snell & Passmore's large team acts for housebuilders, developers and investors with substantial portfolios and is active in areas as diverse as charity and  education to transport, logistics and food and agricultural. Richard Ellard also brings expertise in regeneration projects and the disposal of surplus land and  Joanne Wright  focuses on the many aspects of portfolio management. Sarah Easton  acts for landowners, developers and private funders and the team is ably supported by associate Kate Turnham whose work is 'first class'.

Practice head(s):Richard Ellard

Other key lawyers:Joanne Wright; Joanne Wright; Kate Turnham; Alex Lewsley

Testimonials

'The whole team has embraced the reality that lawyers are now team members and have to perform and show that. They deliver good-quality work to a programme that can be relied on.'

'Kate Turnham's sage advice is presented in a non-legal way which is a pleasure. The work is first rate too compared to some of her competitors. She can overcome problems using her experience and practical skills.'

'The whole team are great to work with, with the highest business acumen.   You are guaranteed a fantastic service from Jo - nothing is too much.'

Key Clients

Pentland Homes

Millwood Designer Homes Limited

Fernham Homes Limited

Motorline Holdings

Association of Conservative Clubs

Brake Bros

COOK Trading Limited

Aldermore Bank Plc

Keystone Property Finance

Sticks n Sushi

Work highlights

  • Advising on a number of development projects across the country including acquisitions and disposals of affordable housing land and the disposal of the affordable housing land and infrastructure agreements for a development with a development value of £327m for the construction of of a mixed-use project.
  • Advised on the share sale and the sale of 13 stores across Surrey to Amhaus Limited. Advised on the management of the property portfolio including lease assignments.  
  • Assisted Motorline in its purchase of East Kent Audi from Inchcape, who will represent the brand. The corporate and employment teams also advised.
  • Advising an overseas client on a range of investment transactions in the residential and commercial sectors, valued at some £25m. The work included development projects, acquisitions and portfolio management.        
  • Advised on agreements for the lease relating to a new 37,000 square foot warehouse and associated car parking in Maidstone with rent in excess of £300,000.  

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP offers the gamut of real estate expertise to clients across areas including retail and leisure, charities, industrial and energy sectors. Ingrid Saffin has notable experience of complex transactions in the healthcare sector and also advises investors and corporate occupiers. Gavin Partridge joined the team in April 2019 from Mundays LLP.

Practice head(s):Ingrid Saffin

Other key lawyers:Claire Timmings; Heather Cross; Gavin Partridge

Testimonials

'The team came highly recommended and did not disappoint.'

 

Key Clients

Nike Retail BV/Nike (UK)

Converse Retail (UK) and Converse Netherlands BV

Octopus Property

Barnardo’s

CareTech Holdings Plc

Optima Care Limited

Dentex Healthcare Group

Pivotal Housing Group

Juno Health UK and Bregal Freshstream

Westlin Bearsted

Work highlights

  • Acts on all aspects of the management of the client's UK property portfolios, including acquisitions, renewals, disposals, leases and licences for works.  
  • Acting for the specialist finance provider on a variety of development financing transactions, including major refurbishments, new builds and residential and commercial projects.  
  • Assists on the management of more than 500 property portfolios including renewals of leases and property acquisitions work.
  • Advising this niche developer on the multi-million pound redevelopment, sale and leaseback to leading UK care homes operator Care UK of a new 75 room care home facility on the new Kent Medical Campus, a matter valued at more than £16.5m.
  • Advising this longstanding client  on the second sale (£31.5m) and  leaseback of a portfolio of 24 care home properties with a rent roll in excess of £900,000 per annum over a 150 year term.

DMH Stallard LLP provides a comprehensive service on property transactions, secured lending and the property elements of corporate sales and acquisitions. Nick Pentecost heads the real estate development team at Crawley; Anne Milne handles all types of non-contentious commercial property and also acts for major banks. Tina George deals with high-value transactions and related finance work. Well-regarded senior associate Jonathan Crook has a focus on charity sector clients.

Practice head(s):Tina George

Other key lawyers:Richard Pollins; Nick Pentecost; Anne Milne; Jonathan Crook

Testimonials

'Excellent value for money from the lawyers we have worked with.'

'Jonathan Crook is a technically excellent, thorough and committed real estate lawyer.  We are lucky to have access to him at such reasonable rates.'

Key Clients

Liverpool Victoria LV

Portsmouth Naval Base PropertyTrust

Motoring & Leisure Services Limited(Boundless/CSMA)

De Havilland Aircraft Museum

Chartwell Land & New Homes

Change Grow Live (CGL)

Country Homes Group Companies

Tesco

Ilchester Estate

Geneva Investments

Work highlights

  • Representing client in respect of an option to acquire land as part of a town centre regeneration project valued at £5m.
  • Acted for a group of leaseholders,  including BVI-registered companies on a complex collective enfranchisement (purchase of freehold) of high-value prime central London property from the Grosvenor Estate. The combined value of leasehold properties is around £25m.
  • Acting for a charity on a business sale of an attraction at the Portsmouth Naval base, including the grant of a new long lease to the buyer.
  • Advising on the acquisition of significant hotel premises and business, valued at £5.28m.
  • Acting for a land owner in relation to a promotion agreement for the development and sale of land in Surrey with an estimated development value of £60m.

Herrington Carmichael LLP's team  is led by Tim Hardesty, who is the relationship manager for many of the group's  key developer clients, especially for residential developments. Daniel York leads on landlord and tenant and secured lending work; the team offers a broad range of transactional and finance skills.

Practice head(s):Tim Hardesty

Other key lawyers:Daniel York; Claire McSorley

Key Clients

Grundon Waste Management

Metro Bank

National Westminster Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised on the freehold interest in a mixed-use multi-let town centre building.
  • Advising in respect of the sale of affordable housing units on a large residential development site.
  • Acted for an offshore company on all aspects of its acquisition of the freehold interest in a development site.
  • Advised on the conditional purchase of two sites for conversion, subject to planning permission, into different usages.
  • Represented the bank on a range of financing matters including in relation to new loans to borrowers for the refinancing of existing lending.

Irwin Mitchell  provides a full real estate service that includes finance, construction and planning and has access to a national network of offices. It also attracts regeneration and mixed-use projects. Tina Webster is the highly rated team head who also heads the firm's education group - she deals with complex development projects, corporate re-locations and land promotions. The 'technically brilliant' Balbit Thandi  includes property investment companies and funds in her client roster, while associate Samual Knight is noted for 'getting good results'.

Practice head(s):Balbit Thandi; Tina Webster

Other key lawyers:Guy Sackett; James Letchford; Samuel Knight

Testimonials

'The team has a good depth of knowledge, they are always efficient and a pleasure to work with.'

'A partner-led approach - they personally get involved in most of the projects and they are very commerial,  appraochable and effective.'

'They have an excellent breadth of expertise in all matters to do with commercial property. A well-resourced team with excellent cover and support.'

'Tina Webster gives us 100% commitment at all times, with a real eye for detail and for protecting our interests at all times. She is very friendly and personable to deal with and has excellent depth of knowledge.'

'Associate Sam Knight is calm, friendly, knowledgeable and very good at getting results.'

'Balbit Thandi is brilliant technically, reliable and an  all round wonderful person to work with.'

Key Clients

Micheldever Tyre Services

Berkeley Strategic Land

Hanbury Properties

Artisan Real Estate Investors

Infrastructure Investments

Dorrington Estates PLC

Seaward Properties

North Street Quarter

Store Property Investments

National Grid

Hendy Group

Chichester College

Lambeth College

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

South Essex College

Idverde SAS

Topcon (GB)

Aventier

Glenchi Property

Pallant Homes

Generator Strategic

Welbeck Strategic Land

Work highlights

  • Advised on a proposed acquisition of a  large commercial estate for over £8m. The sellers are trying to procure the construction of nine industrial units.
  • Advising on a strategic exit by the company/pension scheme in relation to a large mixed-use industrial estate. The balance of the site is to be sold for over £11m.
  • A multi-disciplinary team acted on the acquisition of a complicated property; part of it comprises a listed William Morris designed façade and it abuts a famous church and crypt, and also includes an adopted highway that runs over parts of the building. The matter is valued at £16m.
  • Acting on a complex financial structuring of a city centre mixed-use development through a long income funding commitment from Canada Life. The deal involved real estate, banking , corporate, construction and regulatory advice and is valued at £50m.
  • Advising a client on a call option over a greenfield site. The complex option agreement included a number of ancillary documents - a deed of easement,  a legal charge, planning overage deeds and turn overage deeds.

'Outstanding personal service' is a draw for clients to TWM Solicitors LLP.  Adrian Price oversees work on substantial acquisitions and disposals relating to residential and commercial development projects, commercial leases, landlord and tenant work and related financing. In the Epsom office, Anne Fowler has a focus on the leisure/golf clubs and health industries and managing partner Matthew Truelove  continues to act on a range of commercial developments.

Practice head(s):Adrian Price

Other key lawyers:Matthew Truelove; Anne Fowler

Testimonials

'They provide outstanding service, ready availability and personal attention.'

'Anne Fowler consistently gives considered, timely and thoughtful advice, notwithstanding the considerable workload she takes on.'

Work highlights

  • Assisted on the refinancing of a portfolio of 16 properties, including a number of apartment buildings and commercial properties.
  • Prepared a complex sale contract, conditional upon planning and  subject to existing leases and including a lease back of part of the building. Planning was eventually granted on appeal and the matter proceeded to completion.
  • Acting for a number of borrower companies on a multi-million-pound equity release with a bank and secured against a portfolio of high-value commercial properties.
  • Advised on the purchase of a site from a JV partner as part of a mixed-use regeneration project.
  • Acting for the landowner/developer on a development facility to convert a  tower block into over 550 student accommodation units.

Adams & Remers has a  track record acting in the agriculture and estates, healthcare, retail and leisure sectors. In addition to development, investment and leasing work, it is also increasingly advising on options and promotion agreements. Katherine Haslam and Robin Illingworth offer a wealth of transactional experience.

Practice head(s):Katherine Haslam

Other key lawyers:Robin Illingworth; Joanna Clark

Testimonials

'They are good at listening, have a good sense of humour and are tactful when dealing with the other side. They give clear, very broad and detailed advice.'

 

Key Clients

Norris Brothers Limited

Summerthorne Estates

Cola Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised on a share sale involving multiple commercial leases and a freehold transfer, a deal valued at £4.5m.  
  • Acting for a landowner on the sales at a development site at Ashdown Business Park. The site has been granted planning consent for the construction of industrial units, offices and a restaurant. The project includes the acquisition and assembling of the site over a number of years, planning issues and infrastructure works.  The project is valued at £10m.  
  • Acted for the purchaser of the Hilton London Kensington Hotel,  acquired for over £260m, following the high profile administration of a hotel business.  Advised on the terms of the freehold acquisition and loan documents and various leasehold interests.
  • Acting for a landlord in respect of a subletting of restaurant premises in a high profile building for a 20 year term.
  • Advised an international company with over £25m turnover in respect of a development acquisition for its new flagship head office.

asb law LLP handles a range of property-related transactions including landlord and tenant matters and related financing. The team is led by Jonathan Cavell  working with the other key team members; Chris Worthington, Nigel Robert Wigin, Ian Greenfield and associate Sarah Ovenden.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Cavell

Other key lawyers:Chris Worthington; Nigel Robert Wigin; Ian Greenfield; Sarah Ovenden

Boys & Maughan act predominantly for regional developers on multi-million-pound acquisitions and disposals and also handle property work arising from share sale and business sale agreements. Robert Moulsdale handles complex development work and Robert Ailsby and Rachael Massingham in Canterbury offer broad expertise on developments, finance and leasing.

Practice head(s):Robert Moulsdale

Other key lawyers:Robert Ailsby; Rachael Massingham

Testimonials

'The best service I have encountered.'

'Robert Ailsby is first rate.'

Key Clients

Martin Royalton-Kisch

All Access Ltd

Millchris Developments Ltd

O’Donnell

Work highlights

  • Advised on a joint venture sale  involving two integral properties with a combined sale price of £55m.
  • Acted for the client in taking a new 999-year lease of a unit on an industrial estate within a tight timescale.
  • Acting for the client on a range of contentious issues following its purchase of an industrial estate. All the leases on the site are defective and a third party is using the site illegally.
  • Advising on the acquisition of land for a development company linked to a contract to construct a building containing commercial and residential units. The deal is complicated by various third-party interests in the land.
  • Acted on the expedited refinance of an investment commercial property portfolio comprising a freehold estate with over 100 properties. The transaction involved advising on 14 leases.

Oliver Maxwell-Jones, whose expertise spans commercial property transactions, landlord and tenant and financing, heads the Coole Bevis LLP  group. Nicola Hunt's clients are made up of individuals, companies and charities and Jeff Streater is handling a range of land purchases and lease issues.

Practice head(s):Oliver Maxwell-Jones 

Other key lawyers:Nicola Hunt; Jeff Streater

Work highlights

  • Advised on the acquisition of a garden centre and the transaction was then conducted following an expedited auction process. The property was acquired subject to six retail concessions and the transaction was valued at  £6.7m.
  • Acted for a client who agreed on the sale of land with vacant possession. A further agreement has been reached with the agricultural tenant for him to surrender his  tenancy and completion was conditional on environmental surveys.
  • Acted for a client in the charity sector regarding the sale of a freehold property. The property was held in trust for the specific local society and there were issues as that society was disbanding.
  • Acted for an international lender on a refinancing of part of a property portfolio which comprised numerous mixed-use freehold properties.
  • Assisted a client on the acquisition of a  development site for the construction of  commercial units. The site is adjacent to a larger site which is being developed into residential dwellings. A condition of the planning permission for the residential development, was the construction of the new commercial units.

The three senior partners at Downs Solicitors LLP, Andrew Peach, Madeleine James and Caroline Walton, all attract praise from clients for their client focus in addition to their expertise. The team acts largely for startups, SMEs and some listed and offshore companies on all aspects of commercial property, including sales, purchases and landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):Andrew Peach

Other key lawyers:Caroline Walton; Madeleine James

Testimonials

'We need a competent, no nonsense service at a reasonable price and that is what we get.'

'Each office appears to have a substantial partner-led department of specialist commercial property lawyers which engenders the confidence necessary to enable us to safely recommend Downs to clients. We have many clients who have remained loyal to Downs for many years which is a testament in itself.'

'Sometimes I feel they just work for me.'

'Andy Peach and Madeleine James are virtually always available on the telephone for that all important personal contact. There is an urgency to the jobs they are instructed on which is refreshing compared with some other legal practices.'

'Andy Peach is on the ball, knows his stuff and gets on with the job. He is very pleasant to deal with and is results oriented.'

'Caroline Walton provides an efficient and helpful service.'

Work highlights

  • Re-structuring of land holdings following a corporate restructure and a title rectification and setting up of a development site ready for sale.
  • Negotiated with a landlord to secure the client's release of its obligations under an agreement for lease and a rescission of that agreement.
  • Advised on the sale of the client's existing commercial property and surrounding land and buildings for development. The deal was  complicated by the fact that the client is running its existing business down and so employees' TUPE rights were involved.
  • Advised on a high-value leasing matter which involved the potential assignment and surrender back to the landlord of leases.
  • Acted in relation to an option agreement for a share purchase acquisition. The work included  obtaining favourable planning permission, vacant possession from tenants and all site acquisition work.

Furley Page Solicitors assists multi-national companies in addition to its strong regional connections. It serves its developer, landowner and investor clients in a host of sectors and also counts educational establishments and Local Authorities as clients. Team head, Jeremy Licence includes land promotion agreements and development work in his expertise and Ethan Desai heads the rural and agricultural team. The 'outstanding' associate Simon Stempien is a valued team member and Rupert Cox joined in May 2018 from Brachers.

Practice head(s):Jeremy Licence

Other key lawyers:Liz Brady; Ethan Desai; Simon Stempien

Testimonials

'A thoroughly professional team and great customer care.'

'The team has a very responsive nature and a detailed breadth of knowledge in all types of property matters and a reputation for getting deals concluded in a timely and professional manner, whilst actively ensuring all is in the best interests of the client. This is something hard to find in other law firms of their size.'

'They offer a seamless, comprehensive expert service at every stage.'

'Jeremy Licence and Ethan Desai have provided excellent advice and service.'

'Simon Stempien is outstanding. He inspires confidence with his knowledge and grasp of the issues and his ability to explain these and find solutions. He has a wide knowledge of local resources and services and is able to offer practical assistance in signposting to other professional services which may be required.'

'Catherine Wolstenhome offers great customer support, is knowledgeable and always on hand to answer our concerns and offer sound advice, I trust her completely.'

'Tony Chester is very professional, friendly and made the whole process engaging -  highly recommended.'

Key Clients

University of Kent

Canterbury Christ Church  University

Day Lewis PLC/QH Estates /ABC Drugstores

Trevor Heathcote LLP

G H Dean & Co

Stema Shipping

Grupo Antolin Uruasa SA

Barretts of Canterbury

Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems

Murston Construction

Countrystyle Group

John Parker & Sons

Foxwood Maclean Estate Agents

FDC Homes

Cinque Port Street Developments

East Kent Spacial Development Company

Svenska Handelsbanken ab

Whitstable Oyster Company

Work highlights

  • Represented a corporate developer client in the acquisition of an ex-industrial site in London for circa £12m.
  • Assisted the client on the purchase of two adjacent development sites conditional on planning for a housing development which had an estimated development value in excess of £16m.
  • Represented the client on its relocation which involved a licence for alterations in addition to a lease.
  • Represented the client on the purchase of the assets of the Seasalter Shellfish Company. The matter concerned the acquisition of  a significant section of sea front.
  • The team is negotiating a condition contract for the sale of land subject to planning permission. The permission relates to the land to be sold and the retained land and a proposed residential development, a transaction valued at  £2m.

Hart Brown has established credentials in areas of freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals; residential development work; options and complex lease and easement matters. The firm is also on the  panel of a number of major banks. Roderick Campbell is the seasoned team head and the 'excellent' John Guthrie handles matters including commercial leases and the sale and purchase of real estate.

Practice head(s):Roderick Campbell

Other key lawyers:John Guthrie; Tamzin Mandelli

Testimonials

'Their detailed attention to their clients matters, speed of action and detailed knowledge together with a pragmatic approach make them the right choice to recommend!'

'A very commercially focused team.'

'They provide an outstanding service.'

Work highlights

  • A complex, multi-million-pound site acquisition.
  • Acted on the acquisition of an estate company where there were over 350 owners. The acquisition entailed estate roads and other infrastructure.
  • Advised on a potential development on land that was subject to a number of covenants. The team obtained the release of covenants prohibiting development and the release of other restrictive covenants.
  • Acting for a client in a highly challenging refinance transaction.
  • Advising a client on a high-value, complex and time-pressured multi-site sale to a local authority.

PDT Solicitors assists clients on all types of commercial property transactions, construction and planning law including promotion agreements and landlord and tenant issues. Managing partner James Clewlow also heads the healthcare team and includes a range of clients in this sector in addition to developers. Jane Bowden counts national and regional property developers and land promoters among her clients; land promotion agreements are an outstanding facet of her expertise.

Practice head(s):James Clewlow

Other key lawyers:Jane Bowden; Craig Burton

Testimonials

'They are a knowledgeable, approachable and efficient firm who offer easy access to their senior legal team. They are excellent at providing clear, practical and useful advice on complex matters and situations.'

'They have been professional and intelligent in all my dealings with them.'

'They have excelled in placing their partners and staff in areas which particularly suit their personalities and skill sets, be it negotiation, process or technical knowledge. This makes dealing with the firm straightforward and uncomplicated, even on complex transactions. I have yet to deal with a member of their team who has not been readily available with answers and solutions to any legal problem I have thrown at them.'

 

Key Clients

Medimpo Limited

RHLA

Greenplan Designer Homes Ltd

The Specialist Works Limited

Sunley Estates Ltd

J P Whelan Homes Ltd

Turnbull Land Ltd

Southern Housing Group

Portland Villas Limited

Moussavi Holdings Limited

Hamid Mahmood

Duarch Partnership

Kallend and Others

BTC Racing Limited

Euro Cucina Limtied

Work highlights

  • Acted for the client in respect of a restructure of its existing assets, work that included the incorporation of three new companies, transfers and leasebacks of the properties and a capital reduction and demerger.
  • Advising on the acquisition six new estates as part of a stock transfer from Sovereign Housing Association.  
  • Assisted on the acquisition of three development sites across Sussex, including development and planning matters and  liaising with funders.
  • Acted in the sale and leaseback of premises. The sale was in order to release funds for a management buyout, a matter valued at   £10m.      
  • Advising on planning and obtaining planning permission for development of site in Minster, including negotiating the release of overage and charge held by Secretary of State. The gross deal value is £7m.

The Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP team attracts a diverse range of clients from agricultural and estate owners to developers and industrial companies. David Andrew Ashton undertakes transactions for developers, investors and owner/occupiers and specialises in new homes development work, commercial leases and acquisitions and disposals and managing partner Richard Cripps  also specialises in development work. Stewart Gregory, who joined from  from Browne Jacobson LLP in April 2018, brings healthcare sector expertise.

Practice head(s):David Ashton

Other key lawyers:Richard Cripps; William Keating; Stewart Gregory

Key Clients

AE Beckett & Sons

Ishbel Hughes d-Aeth

Simon Heal & Hutton

Hawkins Thompson & Fildes

Park Property Group (Chalfont)

Park Property Group Leigh

Pomona Estates

Cordek

Greencell

Stansted Borough Council

Smarter Shows

Work highlights

  • Advising in relation to the purchase of land and buildings and adjoining land, a transaction valued at £2m.
  • Acting for the landowners, who granted an option to a developer but the option agreement has to be varied because the developer is sub-selling. The deed of variation has been extremely complicated and a further planning application has been submitted, upon which the deed of variation will be conditional. The sale consideration is likely to be approximately £11m.
  • Advising in relation to the site assembly of five pieces of land, with a purchase price totalling £1.7m.  Work includes negotiating the release of restrictive covenants, agreeing overage terms and dealing with the lenders.
  • Assisted client in relation to the purchase of a well-known hotel in Tunbridge Wells in which two options were taken -  one to purchase the freehold interest at the price of £3.2m and a separate option agreement to purchase the leasehold interest from the operating company for £1, with a view to assigning both option agreements upon obtaining planning permission.  
  • Advised on a lease of a building with a rental value of £320,000 per annum.  

At Thackray Williams LLP, Vikki Herbert heads the leasehold team that includes David Gibson who is 'great at dealing with difficult clients and situations'. Yildiz Betez co-heads the team and deals with all facets of  commercial conveyancing and land development.

Practice head(s):Yildiz Betez; Vikki Herbert

Other key lawyers:David Gibson; Vikki Herbert

Testimonials

'The team has a huge amount of knowledge and experience. They are very efficient, they all use straightforward language with easy to understand pricing, with no extras.'

'The service and expertise is excellent - the service provided is far superior to other firms I have used. It is also very helpful to know that the firm is multi- disciplinary so if any other services are needed they are readily available.'

'David Gibson has been very patient, explaining things clearly and correctly, while giving us options and pros and cons - it is much appreciated.'

Work highlights

  • Assisted on a case of an enfranchisement of a house under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967, a high-value and high-risk transaction.  
  • Assisted a client in the sale of a business for £1.2m and the grant of a 15 year lease of the  premises. Also acted on the sale of the freehold of a building that was subject to commercial lease.
  • Assisted a well-known client on a number of leasing transactions.
  • Acted on the sale of a residential development  including the provision of a full suite of collateral warranties, assignment of the JCT contract and appropriate indemnities.
  • Assisted a client on the sale of investment property which involving compliance with a  pre-emption agreement in favour of a third party and granting appropriate access rights for ongoing maintenance of an adjacent property.

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