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  1. Commercial property: Dorset and South Wiltshire
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The real estate department at Lester Aldridge LLP comprises ‘high-calibre individuals with a vast breadth of experience and knowledge’. The group, which has strengths in property investment and management, real estate finance and residential development, acts for a number of well-known clients in the telecoms, healthcare and marine port sectors. Mark Benham leads the department’s housebuilder practice and acted for McCarthy & Stone on the £6m acquisition of Churchfield Industrial Estate for the development of assisted living apartments. Benham advised the same client on the acquisition of land from Kent County Cricket Club. On the telecoms front, Suki Samra is providing ongoing advice to EE on network improvement matters. In an example of the team’s real estate finance capabilities, Samra is advising Aldermore Bank on secured lending transactions totalling more than £100m throughout 2016 and 2017. The department is headed by the ‘technically excellent and always availableMatthew Barrow, who splits his time between the Bournemouth and Southampton offices and focuses on secured lending, investment acquisitions and portfolio management. Other key figures include Roger Woolley and Guy Morgan, the latter of whom specialises in healthcare premises development.

The team at Steele Raymond LLP is made up of specialists with expertise in a number of areas, including corporate retail occupier matters, portfolio management, real estate investment and residential developments. Jennifer Rogerson is the group’s ‘diligent and commercially focused’ retail specialist; she advises Premier Coffee Limited, the largest Costa Coffee franchise in the UK, in relation to new site acquisitions and general property portfolio management. On the residential side, Emma Stainwright (who is ‘prepared to put in the extra mile’ for her developer clients) acted for Mildren Homes Limited on the acquisition of a phased residential development site and handles the client’s day-to-day legal needs. Carol Elliott is highly regarded in Dorset, and has a regional track record spanning more than 20 years advising large property developers, as well as commercial landlords such as Birchmere Group. Practice head Chris Twaits is ‘thorough, pleasant and always provides first-class, pragmatic advice’. John Daniels retired in 2016.

Trethowans LLP’s ‘excellent’ commercial property group handles landlord and tenant work for a range of corporate clients and remains particularly active in property transactions for pension schemes. Caroline Probert acts for a long list of pensions trusts, including James Hay Pension Trustees, for which she handled the £3m sale of a factory site conditional on planning permission. PAL Trustees, Rowanmoor Trustees and Sippchoice Trustees are other notable pension fund clients. Garry Treagust leads the real estate department and acts for large corporate tenants as well as pension fund clients. David Jones focuses on real estate finance and secured lending, where he acts for clients such as HSBC and Metrobank.

Laceys Solicitors incorporating HLF has a regionally focused real estate team that specialises in advising developers on commercial and residential development projects. The team also acts for a range of clients in the care home and hospitality sectors, and handles portfolio management for property investors. John Munro heads the department and is acting for a holding company in relation to a purchase option for a site that will be used for the purpose of developing student accommodation. Jonathan Ogden has been involved in some of the group’s highest-value matters in 2016, including acting for a private client on the £15.5m sale of three park-home sites, and a £4.5m hotel acquisition. Mark Preece’s recent highlights include acting for the sellers in several multimillion-pound residential and mixed-use development transactions. Anthony John, who specialises in property transactions and tenant and landlord issues, is also recommended.

Clients of Battens Solicitors Limited rate its ability to provide ‘reasoned advice at an excellent value’. The deeply experienced team specialises in portfolio management and property investment matters, acting primarily for developers and investment companies. Department head Rupert Vaughan is an ‘excellent commercial lawyer’ with four decades of commercial property experience, during which time he has assisted housebuilders and developers across the gamut of property issues, including development agreements, options and conditional contracts, property disposals and site assembly matters. Other key figures include Robert Wright, who handles a range of investment property, development and lease issues, and has handled several real estate acquisitions in 2016 and 2017; Ray Edwards, who acts for public and private sector clients; and Anna Austin, who has particular expertise in development and landlord and tenant work.

Frettens LLP’s real estate department acts primarily for regional developers and corporate tenants in relation to purchase and lease transactions. The team also has experience in portfolio management and real estate finance matters, acting for lenders and borrowers. Practice head Oonagh McKinney has handles multiple matters on behalf of architectural practices in 2016, and assisted Evans & Travers with a number of option agreements for the purchase of development land. McKinney also advised Aspire Architects and HB Holdings on options over land and acquisitions of several plots for development, and provides ongoing advice to Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust on the sales of former NHS premises. Clare Hallett leads the firm’s residential property team and Specialises in residential sale and purchase transactions.

The commercial property team at Wilsons handles property matters across a variety of sectors. Jane Lonergan specialises in acting for charities, with an emphasis on military charity clients. Past clients have included Help for Heroes, Army Sport Control Board and Royal Artillery Museums Limited. Judith Beddow and Alison Bailey have extensive experience of property transactions. Dominic Ogden handles a variety of property transactions, including acquisitions and lease and option agreements.

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Legal Developments in South West for Commercial property: Dorset and South Wiltshire

  • 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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