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  1. Commercial property: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40
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Who Represents Who

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At Blake Morgan LLP, Andrew Miscampbell and senior associate and Michael Ward are healthcare sectors experts, who advised a client from the care home sector on refinancing a development. Other healthcare work included surgery development and lease work. Senior associate Deryn Bassett is well regarded for energy matters but the practice’s industry strengths also extend to the charity, education and local government sectors. Recent instructions saw practice head Ruth Leadbitter handle the multimillion-pound acquisition of an industrial park for a council and assist a leading charity with a series of property disposals. Senior associate Paul Brame provides ‘sound, practical and honest advice’ and is highly regarded with associate Charlotte Astley. Andrew Querelle is now an associate at Spratt Endicott. Amey, Deutsche Bank and Miele feature are clients.

With its ‘strong local presence and profile in the Thames Valley’, Boyes Turner excels in everything from land developments to landlord and tenant work. The practice provides targeted advice through specialist teams; for example, the development group is led by William Nassau-Lake and Derek Ching, who provides ‘clear advice and has a workmanlike approach’. Department head Nick Carter leads the commercial practice and advised Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services on extending its lease at Broadcast Centre, among several other matters. Mark Appleton is ‘always approachable’ and handles UK property transactions for offshore trust companies; a recent instruction saw him lead the multimillion-pound sale of Curatus Trust Company’s London-based waterside site to an overseas company. HSBC and CA Technologies (formerly Computer Associates International) are other clients. At senior associate level, Rachel Duncan, Bob Daniel and the recently promoted Sarah Webb are names to note.

Comprising ‘experts in their field’, BrookStreet des Roches’ team ‘really understands property’ and has gone from strength to strength in the retail sector. Retail and leisure practice head Rosie Gibb has been advising Arcadia Group on developing and rolling out a framework for properties, which forms part of a project to open outlets of the company’s biggest brands in Tesco supermarkets. The impressive client roster also includes The Body Shop, and McDonald's. Education sector work grew for the practice, with the ‘exceptionally thoughtful and responsiveMark Davies handling Nuffield College’s joint venture with Oxford City Council to acquire a site for the Oxpens project, which included the purchase of land from London and Continental Railways. Practice head Martin Billings assisted MEPC with numerous matters, including advising on a pre-let agreement to lease a laboratory and office building to Adaptimmune Therapeutics in Milton Park. Managing partner Hugh Blaza and Justin Winterbottom are experienced individuals, as are recently promoted partners Sarah Wildsmith and Jamie Barton, and senior associate Richard Mulcock, who is ‘a first-class negotiator’. Suki Hardy departed to Gardner Leader LLP.

Field Seymour Parkes LLP’s seven-partner team handles a range of matters: Dean Bickford focuses on investment and landlord and tenant mandates, farming and estates practice head James Burgess has been advising on property acquisitions and disposals, and Nick Winslet’s expertise includes high-value lettings, development and secured lending work. Marcus Francis leads the team and advised Whistl on leasing a new head office from Pruta Property. Meantime, Bickford is assisting Mencap with acquiring retail units, donation stations and discount stores to grow the charity’s nationwide footprint, and Michael Higgin acted for PRS for Music on underletting a London-based office space to Intercept Pharmaceuticals. Panasonic Europe, Benugo and Comland are also clients.

Freeths LLP reported an uptick in healthcare work and acted for a range of companies from this sector on the relocation of headquarters, financing property sales and construction matters. Singled out for his ‘excellent skills’, director Adrian White heads the practice with Patrick Whetter. Work highlights included advising Market Cafe on acquiring a new restaurant on Strand, London for £4.7m. Lease, property disposals and environmental matters were among other mandates. At senior associate level, Desh Patel is recommended alongside Anna Power, whose ‘attention to detail is especially good’.

Osborne Clarke’s expertise includes advising on developments, real estate finance and leases. Rebecca Tuffs heads the practice and is advising the regeneration team at Bordon Enterprise Park on asset and portfolio management and numerous short-term lettings that generate income for an ongoing development. 4D Data Centres – a recent client gain – instructed Tuffs on acquiring the leasehold for a data centre from EE. Persimmon and Barclays are also clients. Legal director Andrew Annette is recommended for residential development work, and Elizabeth Sturgess now splits her time between the firm’s Reading and Bristol offices.

Penningtons Manches LLP focuses on the education, retail, life sciences, care home and energy sectors, counting White Stuff and Somerville College as clients. Simon Knott handles the roll-out of new stores for Starbucks’ franchisee 23.5 Degrees, while practice head Richard Smith, who leads the environmental and planning law group, is advising Oxford Nanopore Technologies on leasing a building in Oxford Science Park from BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company). John Morrison is the main contact for real estate disputes and is well regarded along with recently promoted senior associate Sabrina Furneaux-Gotch.

For some, Pitmans LLP’s ‘outstanding’ practice is ‘by far the best’ in residential development and corporate and finance-related matters. Recent highlights for residential conveyancing practice head Delphine Mehouas included advising Bewley Homes on acquiring land for the construction of 400 residential units and handling the real estate aspects of Ridgeway Garages (Newbury)’s sale to Marshall Motor Group, which saw her handle property portfolio due diligence in addition to environmental and construction matters. Java Asset Management, Ashill and Vanderbilt Homes also feature on the client roster. Paul Murray’s ‘detailed knowledge of all property issues’ is ‘second to none’ and he is recommended with Marcus McCluggage and Sarah Potter, who were promoted to partner. Andrew Davies is no longer with the firm.

At Shoosmiths LLP, telecoms, retail and leisure sector expert Andrew Farmery advised GAME on the sale and leaseback of its distribution centre and head office buildings; Birmingham-based senior associate Brian Hession also worked on the matter. In other work, Farmery and London-based Angus Evers handled the disposal of a contaminated former landfill site for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Matt Walker is assisting Minerva Education with the lease of a landmark site in Piccadilly. Practice head Alan Corcoran and Nathan Rees excel in corporate occupancy mandates, acting for tenants and landlords in high-value transactions. Henkel, Regus and Legal & General are also key clients of the practice, which is also instructed by funds and investors. Senior associate Marcus Devanny is a rising star.

Development, secured lending and transactional work are where Blandy & Blandy LLP’s ‘strong team’ shines. Katja Wigham acted for Cove Construction in acquiring a site for the development of six residential properties. The ‘commercial, responsive and flexibleJohn Dingle is ‘a pleasure to work with’, and is particularly recommended for healthcare sector matters and secured lending. Practice head Jane Gunnell is advising landowners on a proposed project that seeks to use a large site for developing 400 homes and community facilities. University of Reading, Englefield Estate and H & T Properties are other key clients. Henley-on-Thames and Reading-based Luke McMath joined the practice through the firm’s acquisition of Collins Dryland & Thorowgood LLP.

CMS has been advising a range of clients on matters relating to their London premises. Counsel Stephen Baker advised CareerBuilder UK on subletting office space in Shoreditch; he ‘deals very efficiently with larger transactions’ and took over as practice head following Carol Phillips’ move in-house to Virgin Media. The firm is adept in shopping centre management and assisted Capital & Regional with letting a retail unit in Kingfisher Shopping Centre to 360 Play. Kennedy Wilson, Medallia and Benson Elliot Capital Management LLP are also clients, as are institutional landlords such as InfraRed Capital Partners and BMO Real Estate Partners; Baker advised the latter on acquiring high street property from St. Modwen Properties in Farnborough. Senior associate Will Bird is also recommended.

Clarkslegal LLP is ‘excellent in all respects’ and has a particularly impressive workload in the hotel, leisure, food and restaurant sectors. Dividing time between London and Reading, ‘very knowledgeable’ practice head Rachel Krol advised Meridian Leisure Hotels on selling two hotels in a multimillion-pound transaction, and recently promoted partner Simon Ralphs provides ongoing advice to restaurants on leases and agreements with occupants, among other matters. Recent instructions for Richard Higgs included handling land disposals and high-value property investments. Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Carillion also feature on the client roster. Simon Berry is highly regarded for residential work and has expertise in conveyancing, auctioning properties and advising on leasehold matters for landlords and tenants.

At Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors, managing partner Tim Read handled two sizeable transactions for landowners in selling 34 hectares of land at Matthews Green Farm to Bovis Homes and Gleeson Homes, and was retained by Just Eat Holding and Just Eat plc to obtain leases for four floors at the companies’ London base. Chris Baggs’ recent workload included selling residential and agricultural properties. Practice head Ian Graham is also noted with senior associate Jonathan Foulds, who arrived from Stevens & Bolton LLP.

The ‘excellentGardner Leader LLP has ‘sufficient strength in depth’ and expanded its development work by hiring former BrookStreet des Roches partner Suki Hardy, who handled the development of barn conversions and live/work units for Rivar. Senior associate Joanna Bullard arrived from Darbys Solicitors LLP and handled a broad range of work, including advising on property warranties and titles. With ‘expert local knowledge that is the key to obtaining a successful outcome’, practice head Greg Humphreys is well respected and recently handled various lease matters pertaining to construction and fit-out work. Key figures also include Jolyon Barton, who leads the inheritance protection practice, and Maidenhead and Newbury-based Richard Buckeridge. Other clients include Newbury Building Society, J & J Carter and a restaurant chain.

Aston Bond’s team ‘sees through the muddle of a transaction and remains cool under pressure’, which makes it attractive to clients such as PSB Wealth Management, Mace and Millennium Cleaning. Nick Powe leads the residential conveyancing practice and ‘very knowledgeable’ consultant John Hunter Wright is also recommended.

Brethertons LLP handles transactional, development and freehold matters, among other work. Practice head Tom Lawrence advises retail sector clients on various property acquisitions and disposals, and associate Angela Guess is handling the purchase of a public house lease for an Oxford-based company. Helix Autosport and Heart of England Training are other clients.

Claire Leyshon and practice head Robert Lynch are the main contacts at Harrison Clark Rickerbys. Together, they handle a plethora of matters, including acquisitions of mixed-use retail properties, residential developments and secured lending. The firm has experience in advising clients from wide-ranging industries such as finance, retail and software.

Excellent’ boutique firm Plainlaw solicitors is adept in commercial matters and acts for Spectris and Copthorne Hotels, among others. Brendan Rolle-Rowan and the ‘extremely diligent and pragmatic’ Philip Horn advised Markel International on acquiring a lease for an office floor from Capita Trust Company (Jersey) and Forbrit Trustees as trustees of the Canada Life UK Property Jersey Unit Trust. The firm also acted for XL Services UK in sub-leasing space in a London building to Argenta Holdings. Stephen Stratton is well respected for nuclear sector property transactions and has experience in other industries, including education, healthcare and manufacturing.

At Spratt Endicott, the ‘exceptionalAndrew Woods heads the practice and ‘gets the deal done’ in developments and land transactions; Howard Meakin is recommended for residential and commercial development work; and Neil Belcher focuses on property investment and has particular expertise in property taxation. Associate Graham Roberts is noted for retail sector landlord and tenant mandates as well as portfolio asset management. Individuals, investors, developers and manufacturers are among clients of the practice, which recently hired associate Andrew Querelle from Blake Morgan LLP.

Led by senior associate Julie Acock, Royds Withy King has a wealth of experience in advising on leases for office, retail, restaurant and industrial units, and handles transactional and refinancing work for farms, estates and racing yards. The practice acted for the landlords of Grove Business Park – a recent client gain – in a matter relating to the surrender of a lease by StanJames.com, which will vacate the premises after completing another six-month term. In other work, the firm assisted White Lodge Medical Practice with acquiring a development site for constructing a medical practice and pharmacy. Santander, Helen & Douglas House and Freshly Baked Properties are other clients. Andrew Chalk heads the residential property, farms and estates practice and is recommended along with associate Ruth Bowen, who joined from Capsticks LLP.

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