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The ‘excellent’ team at Clyde & Co LLPprovides a very personable service’. The firm regualrly advises on high-value leasehold negotiations and agreements, portfolio management cases and development issues for lenders, banks and developers among others. The team advised Spelthorne Borough Council on the £350m acquisition and leaseback of BP’s headquarters, located in Sunbury-on-Thames, including arranging the loan for the transaction from the Public Works Loan Board and providing specialist tax and planning law advice. It also assisted Ares Property Management with its £270m acquisition of Land Securities’ retail park portfolio, and advised U+I Group on its appointment to be a development partner for Mayfield Partnership, for the regeneration of the Mayfield area in Manchester and Manchester Piccadilly Station into mixed-use commercial and residential spaces; the project is value at £300m. Other clients include Grainger, Urban & Civic, Portsmouth City Council and Frogmore Property Group. Property financing expert Adam Taylor-Smith and legal director Choisanne Man, who focuses on development work, are praised as ‘proactive, pragmatic and diligent’. Taylor-Smith leads the department with highly regarded overseas commercial property expert Martin Quicke. Legal director and regeneration projects expert John Pearce is also recommended. Will Deeprose was joined the team in June 2016 from DLA Piper; he focuses on lease negotiations and development projects.

Cripps LLPgoes above and beyond what is required to deliver an exemplary service’. With a strong background in advising developers and lenders, the firm frequently advises on acquisitions and disposals, portfolio management and high-value leasehold issues. The team continued to assist Slough Borough Council on its £1bn regeneration project for the area, with work in 2016 including advising on the £27m new library in Slough’s town centre and £8m football stadium and public sports facility, as well as assisting Studio Wayne McGregor on the leasehold negotiations and refurbishment of the former International Broadcasting centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to create a new dance studio. In another highlight, the team continued to advise Hermes Investment Management on the management of The Centre: MK, a shopping centre in Milton Keynes, including handling asset management matters, refurbishment planning advice and negotiating new leases for retail spaces. Peer Group, Canada Life and Barratt Homes are also on the roster. Real estate head Mike Scott ‘is calm under fire, creative and inventive’; he is ably supported by Kate Robinson who ‘is calm and efficient’, and Stephen Hedley who ‘is very personable, well-experienced and responsive’. Senior partner Clare Hyland and Glenn Miller are other key contacts. Matthew Cox left to join TLT and Richard Stokes went into an in-house counsel position at Transport for London.

Mundays LLPprovides sensible and commercial advice backed up by strong technical knowledge’; ‘the strength-in-depth and experience in high-value transactions is second-to-none’. The team advises on a full remit of commercial property work including portfolio management, leasehold and freehold agreements, and investments into UK-based commercial properties. Highlights for the firm in 2016 included multi-jurisdictional and high-value acquisitions, assisting with the management of industrial estate portfolios, and advising on secured lending matters. Its client base comprises lenders, private companies and individuals in the retail, healthcare, automotive and logistics sectors. Victor Barker and Kevin Healy ‘are superb, very experienced and never fail to respond’; each is adept at handling development matters as well as acquisitions and disposals. Commercial land acquisition expert James Lawrence, property finance and Islamic finance specialist Gemma James, and experienced disputes lawyer Stephen Morris are also recommended. Michael Nixon is heading the practice following his arrival from DMH Stallard LLP in 2017. Ingrid Saffin joined Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Stevens & Bolton LLPprovides insightful, proactive and sensible advice that is trusted’. The team’s expertise covers commercial property financing matters, including secured lending, as well as portfolio management, corporate occupier and divestment mandates. Development matters are another key area of expertise; highlights include advising the Royal Horticultural Society on its acquisition of a 156-acre Bridgewater garden, with the intention to develop the land into one of the largest gardens in Europe. Other highlights included assisting Asquith Nurseries on its sale to Bright Horizons Family Solutions, including assisting with the leasehold agreements for 90 properties and advising on multiple Scottish properties to be sub-contracted to McRoberts. It also advised Kia Motors on the acquisition and refurbishment of a showroom in London, which will be the client’s largest in Europe. Emirates, Octopus Healthcare Development, Store Property Investments and JMH Group are also on the client roster. Andrew Steele is well-versed in advising on corporate occupier issues and healthcare property matters. He leads a team that includes retail development specialist Howard Lupton, Alex Watt, and Michael Laver, a portfolio management expert. Also recommended are senior associate and property finance expert Bethan Dodd, and Daryl Rivero, who was appointed to the partnership in November 2016 and is well-versed in handling commercial property investments.

The team at Thomson Snell & Passmoreis excellent and very responsive’; ‘no job is too small or too large’. The firm is well-versed in undertaking property finance issues, including private funding and investment matters, as well as property portfolio management mandates, acquisitions and leasehold matters in the transport, logistics and education sectors among others. The team assisted Close Brothers with multiple loan facilities with an aggregate value of £450m in 2016, and advised Agora Financial on the relocation of its head office in London to Worship Street, including assisting with contractual negotiations and relevant licensing matters. Other highlights included advising AA Homes and Housing on refinancing an office property acquisition for £30m and assisting Ashford Borough Council with the regeneration of the area’s commercial quarter, including providing planning advice for new office blocks. Millwood Designer Homes, Titlestone and Motorline Holdings are other clients. Regeneration expert Richard Ellard is the practice head. Other team members include development specialist Sarah Easton who ‘gives clients excellent, clear and simple advice’; Joanne Wright, who ‘is efficient with a good commercial attitude’; and Alisa Sweeney, whose ‘professionalism, knowledge and ability to find a working solution is second-to-none’. Matthew Grogan, who focuses on property finance, was promoted to partner in June 2016.

asb law LLPgives complete, professional, precise advise and support’ to clients. It regularly assists with acquisitions and divestments, high-value portfolio management matters and plot development and regeneration projects. Highlights included advising Rochester Bridge Trust on acquisitions and divestments of land at Rochester Bridge for maintenance and upkeep of the bridge, and assisting Ashford Commercial Quarter with the development of a new office building in Ashford town centre for £16m, including advising on lease agreements for two of the office’s floors to the council and multiple pre-sale agreements. The team also advised a subsidiary of the Milton Group on the sale of a Hertfordshire industrial estate to CBRE Global Investors for £4.5m. Other clients include Big Box Storage Centres, Towergate Insurance and Persimmon Homes. Jonathan Cavell leads the team, which includes property finance specialist Ian Greenfield and highly regarded landlord and tenant expert Nigel Wigin. Portfolio management specialist Chris Worthington is another name.

According to clients, Barlow Robbins LLPis excellent in all respects’. The firm regularly handles the full remit of commercial real estate work including acquisitions and disposals, secured lending work and commercial landlord and tenant agreements for lenders, banks and businesses in the London and South East area. It assisted Achieve Lifestyle with its £2.4m lease agreement for a new gym in Addlestone’s town centre as part of the overarching regeneration scheme and advised Rapidmile on its £2.3m acquisition of the freehold for a mixed-use property located in Pangbourne from Investec Bank, which involved assisting with the subsequent sale of two freeholds belonging to the building for £1.7m. Other highlights included advising Vapestore Retail on multiple new retail stores in the South East. NatWest, Neugarder and Joel Property Developments are also on the client roster. Development specialist Helen Archibaldis a good manager of the team’; she heads the Woking office’s team, while highly regarded property finance expert Jo Farr leads the Guildford practice. Senior associate and property portfolio management expert Victoria McDonagh ‘is knowledgeable, energetic and responsive’.

Brachers attracts praise for its ‘quick response times and high-quality work’. Its track record covers acquisitions and disposals, property management matters and freehold negotiations and agreements. The team is well-known for its work on commercial property leases; it advised Beadles Group on acquiring a custom-built flagship outlet, including leasehold negotiations with the landlord who owned the industrial estate and development advice. It also assisted Burgess Marine with the commercial property aspects of its acquisition of marine engineering and superyacht companies. Other highlights included assisting with large-scale retail development plans, assisting a healthcare company with its custom-made research laboratory and acting for the seller on the divestment of agricultural land. Jump Arena, Lloyds Bank, Daunt Books and Dover District Council are also clients. The highly regarded Sarah Gaines heads the team and is well-versed in agricultural business tenancies and private landowner matters. Also in the team is healthcare and education property specialist Bill Butler who ‘provides outstanding service and really understands the client’s business’, agricultural and rural head Sarah Webster, and primary care specialist Ash Jilani.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLPis very responsive; clients can rely on it to get the job done’. It advises clients in the healthcare, energy and logistics sectors, as well as lenders and banks, on the full remit of matters including secured lending, acquisitions and divestments, and freehold negotiations and agreements. The team advised wagamama on three property acquisitions in Manchester, Colchester and Reigate, including advising on lease renewals and. The firm also has a particular specialism in commercial property matters for clients in the charity sector; it assisted Barnardo’s with various lease acquisitions, licence negotiations and property management issues, and advised Save the Children Fund on multiple acquisitions and lease renewals. CareTech, Eliquo Water Group and Disability Challengers are also on the client roster. Retail and leisure sector expert Debra Kent leads the team, which includes the ‘excellentDavid Haines and senior associate and corporate occupier specialist Claire Timmings.

According to clients, the team at DMH Stallard LLPis second-to-none in terms of performance, quality of service and advice’. It regularly handles property portfolio management matters, secured lending finance issues and leasehold arrangement mandates for businesses, lenders and individuals. The team advised Papa John’s on its new standalone branch located in King’s Lynn, including assisting with the development and lease agreements and transaction document negotiations. It also assisted The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea with the proposed redevelopment of a historic retail site into a residential area, and avised an electricity utilities provider on the relocation of a transformer substation to a larger development. Other clients include Ilchester Estate, Crest Nicholson and Tesco. Property portfolio management specialist Tina George leads the real estate department, which includes ‘highly responsive’ property finance specialist Cathy Searle, Anne Milne, who focuses on advising charity sector clients, and development specialist Charles Pfister. James Regan joined Stephen Rimmer and Co. Michael Nixon is now with Mundays LLP. In 2017, the firm merged with Rawlison Butler LLP, bringing on board development specialist Nick Pentecost, Sean Ryan, who handles a range of commercial property mandates, and senior associate Jonathan Crook.

Penningtons Manches LLP fields a ‘very competent real estate team’ that attracts praise for its ‘prompt and professional’ service. The firm handles the full range of commercial property matters including land development issues, property finance mandates and acquisitions and divestments, with a specialty in advising retail and leisure sector clients. It advised Oceanic Estates on its £89m disposal of Marchwood Industrial Park to Associate British Ports (ABP) and assisted Armourers & Brasiers with a simultaneous long lease and leaseback transaction for an existing lease in favour of the property’s ground-floor tenant. The team also acted for Flight Centre on high-value lease renewals, property refurbishments and management issues related to the client’s 200-property portfolio. Green Point Developments, Godalming Town Council, Kennedy Wilson Europe and Westgate Healthcare are also on the client roster. Practice head and retail sector expert Mike Busbyis always on top of the detail and drives the timeframe very well’; the team also includes joint practice leader and development specialist Tim Davies, acquisitions and disposals expert and associate director Tony Burns, and associate James Matthews, who ‘is incredibly diligent, knowledgeable and extremely pleasant to deal with’.

TWM Solicitors LLP frequently advises on leasehold and freehold negotiations, large-scale portfolio management matters and acquisitions and disposals of properties for a number of clients in the retail, logistics and leisure sectors. The team worked in tandem with the firm’s corporate department to advise London & Surrey Property Holdings on its acquisition by Glenstone Holdings. In another highlight, it advised Lucas Design & Construction on its £6m acquisition of two Banstead sites, as well as advising on the subsequent plot sales. Also on the client roster are Crown Golf, Svenska Handelsbanken and Tindle Newspapers. Adrian Price is heads the practice and specialises in commercial development projects, freehold agreements and property finance matters. He is ably supported by managing partner Matthew Truelove, who focuses on acquisitions and property divestments, as well as Anne Fowler, who specialises in advising clients in the leisure industry, and Claire Campbell, who is noted for her commercial leasehold expertise. David Stockley joined the team from Russell-Cooke LLP.

Clients of Whitehead Monckton praise its ‘professional, forward-thinking and client-centric approach’. The team advises lenders, developers and businesses on acquisitions and disposals, property portfolio management issues and property finance matters including refinancing issues and secured lending matters. Highlights included assisting The Ethical Property Company with its £37m acquisition of Development House in London, including advising on the leaseback agreement and deferred payment scheme. Other highlights included advising Adaptimmune on its agreement for a custom-built research facility and office in Park Drive Central Milton Park with a total rent value of £28m, and advised Ridgeway Land on obtaining a lease for an office building at Ridgeway Office Park to Colt International, which involved selling the freehold for £2m. Lloyds Bank, Park Lane Group and Northfleet Developments are also clients. Department head Robert Coombe(who is ‘at the top of his game’) is well-versed in option agreements and leasehold matters. Commercial landlord and tenant expert Dan Cowley, who was promoted to partner in 2016, is noted for his ‘pragmatic advice and assistance’. Also recommended are Vicky Stoodley, who is ‘a great negotiator’ and singled out for planning matters; and senior consultant Sarah Mirza, who joined the firm following its acquisition of legacy firm Docklands Solicitors.

The ‘well-respected’ team at Adams & Remers has a fine reputation for commercial property matters including pension fund work and landlord and tenant issues. In 2016 the firm handled multiple property finance matters, and handled land development deals, freehold and leasehold matters and property portfolio management issues. The firm’s specialist care home team regularly handles care home acquisitions and disposals. Clients include businesses, property developers and lenders; clients hail from the healthcare, retail and public sectors, among others. Department head Katherine Haslam's areas of expertise include agricultural and commercial rural estate mandates. Also recommended are senior partner Robin Illingworth, whose specialisms include advising healthcare sector clients on option agreements, and Joanna Clark, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable and efficient’ and advises on commercial landlord and tenant matters, among other areas.

Boys & Maughan attracts praise for its ‘very professional handling of matters and pragmatic approach to negotiations’. Acquisitions and disposals, lease agreements and option arrangements are all mainstays of the practice, which advises lenders, sellers and developers in the healthcare, education and retail sectors. It is advising Hornby on the sale of its head office and visitors centre in Margate as well as the leaseback of a section of the site. Other highlights included assisting the same client with the acquisition and refurbishment of premises at Ramsgate Harbour for its new visitors centre, and advising Brede Hotels on its £2m acquisition of Nayland Rock Hotel in Margate. Kentish Projects, Manyweathers Properties and Avante Care & Support are also clients. Amrita Bartram ‘is professional, courteous and gives sound market advice’ and Robert Moulsdale ‘is good in the property development field’.

Downs Solicitors LLP’s ‘service and knowledge are very good’, according to clients. The team handles large-scale property portfolio management matters, property finance and acquisitions for lenders and businesses. Highlights included advising an investor on the purchase of a freehold site located in Southend and the purchase of a leasehold site in Bedworth, and assisting a ceramic tile company with its relocation to new premises. Other clients are in the food, construction and healthcare sectors. Andrew Peach heads the practice and specialises in cross-border property finance issues. He is ably assisted by Caroline Walton and consultant solicitor Michael Debens, who focuses on development projects. Michael Nixon left the firm to join DMH Stallard LLP.

Furley Page Solicitorsis a good regional practice with several very capable commercial property lawyers’. Acquisitions and disposals, property finance and site development matters are all mainstays of the practice, which advises lenders, purchasers and sellers. The team advised Canterbury City Council on the creation of a new lease for multiple buildings let to the White Friars Canterbury Unit Trust, which involved advising on rent reviews. It is also advising five trustees of existing sports clubs on a new mixed-use facility in Herne Bay being constructed by Redrow Homes. Grupo Antolin, John Parker & Son and Stema Shipping are also clients. Practice head Jeremy Licence and Andrew Gough handle secured lending and planning matters, respectively; they are recommended alongside development agreement expert Liz Brady, who ‘is very experienced, highly skilled and attentive’.

Clients rate the ‘faultless’ team at Hart Brown for its ‘really excellent, rapid and thorough responses’. Property finance, acquisitions and disposals, and infrastructure issues are all areas the firm frequently assists with. It advised a developer on the acquisition of three plots for mixed use, including two schools to be built on the sites; it also handled planning issues related to the site when the request was rejected. The team also assisted a financial institution with a secured lending issue for a mixed-use commercial and residential property. Surrey Wildlife Trust and Purple Parking are on the client roster. Department leader and site acquisitions expert Roderick Campbell ‘is logical, pragmatic and proactive’. The team also includes senior solicitor John Guthrie, who ‘is a very safe pair of hands’ and focuses on licensed premises, and highly regarded development specialist Paul Allamand.

Tim Hardesty leads the real estate practice at Herrington Carmichael LLP, which has a particular emphasis on the residential development arena. Clients include national developers, regional housebuilders, and a number of landowners. Hardesty is regularly called on to handle multimillion-pound disposals and acquisition on behalf of developer clients. Other key figures include Mark Izquierdo, who handles investment and development mandates in the residential and commercial real estate sectors, and senior associates Daniel York and Claire McSorley.

Irwin Mitchell’s team ‘is very quick, knowledgeable and experienced’. The firm frequently advises on property finance issues, including secured lending and investment options, as well as plot acquisitions and property portfolio matters. It is assisting Lambeth College with finding a development partner to undertake the £40m regeneration of the Vauxhall Nine Elms campus, as well as advising South Essex College as joint buyer with the HCA and the borough council on the sale of a housing development to be repurposed as a new college campus, including project management advice and planning application assistance. NatWest, Hendy Group and Southern Water are other clients. Chichester team leader Tina Webster is recommended for development agreements. Also in the team are Gatwick team head and investment property portfolio management specialist Balbit Thandi, as well as regeneration project specialist Guy Sackett.

Morrisons Solicitors LLP regularly advises clients in the charity, education and retail sectors on leasehold and freehold agreements, acquisitions and disposals, and property finance matters including secured lending and investments. Highlights for the firm in 2016 were assisting with high-value lease renewal agreements for properties, refinancing a development site and assisting a tenant with letting a floor of a high-profile building in London. Its client base includes Santander, Allens Total Petimeter Security and E-Resourcing. Edward Moseley heads the practice and is ably supported by senior associate Protima Sikdar-Wood, who is adept at handling property acquisitions, and senior associate Tanuja Sellahewa, who focuses on secured lending finance.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP is noted for its ‘very good value for money and excellent turnaround times’. The practice is experienced in lease agreements, development matters and infrastructure issues; in 2016 it advised clients in the retail and leisure sectors on acquisitions and disposals, mixed-use developments and refinancing matters. The team also works closely with the private client and dispute resolution teams for agricultural estate issues and property disputes. Other clients include NatWest, Challenge Packaging and Guess. The ‘speedy and knowledgeable’ David Ashton heads the department, which includes agricultural expert Nick Fagg, managing partner Richard Cripps and property portfolio management expert William Keating.

Thackray Williams LLP’s wide-ranging expertise includes leasehold and freehold matters, option agreements and acquisitions and disposals for clients in the retail and healthcare sectors. The team advised the freeholder of Dulwich Estate on an enfranchisement matter concerning joining a house with a sports ground and assisted Zenithgold with 72 simultaneous lease extensions. Other clients include NatWest, Harsco Infrastructure Services, Malden Group and Environmental Scientifics Group. Yildiz Betez heads the team; she is an expert in commercial conveyancing as well as commercial landlord and tenant matters. She is ably supported by development specialist David Fearon as well as leasehold expert Vikki Herbert. Amanda Wood retired from the practice.

Warners Solicitors has a fine reputation for property finance matters, with an emphasis on secured lending issues and investment opportunities, as well as acquisitions and disposals. It advised Allied Irish Bank on a £2.6m facility for QW Retail Estates, secured against a mixed-used property portfolio. The team also assisted 21st Century Technology with its office relocation from Surrey to Leicestershire. AIB Group, Edward Blake and Antalis Group are also clients. Property finance specialist Angela Robinson, who joined the team from H&R Hughes Solicitors LLP, ‘is extremely diligent and sees the bigger picture’; she heads the department along with development expert Mark Davis. Clients also single out landlord and tenant specialist Steve Colville, who is ‘the best commercial property lawyer and is very practical and knowledgeable’; and secured lending expert Angela Rowe.

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Legal Developments in South East for Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex

  • 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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