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BPE Solicitors LLP attracts praise for its ‘impressive service’ and the breadth of its coverage of property conveyancing, commercial leases and sale and purchase agreements. Clients range from high street banks and investment companies to corporate occupiers in the retail and leisure sectors and care home operators. Leveraging the firm’s full-service offering, practice head Antonia Shield handled the property aspects of a £9.5m development finance transaction for Boultbee Brooks Real Estate regarding a 50,000 sq ft mixed-use building in Manchester. Jo Bewley, who focuses on real estate investment in the healthcare and retail sectors, acted for Lilian Faithful Homes – a new client of the firm – in relation to its £4.6m acquisition of an operational care home. Rebecca Maxwell was made partner in 2016 and acted for Stobart Group on the initial purchase of a 47-acre site on lease to Ford Motor Company with an option to purchase; the team then assisted on the subsequent sale of the site to Ford. Senior associate Doug Armstrong, whose primary focus is on investment and development matters, is ‘always available’ for his clients. Additional clients include Supergroup, Pure Gym, Tiger, NatWest Bank and Lloyds Bank.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s Cheltenham office has a sizeable real estate group, which stands out in the areas of pension scheme property, land promotion and residential property investment. The team also handles residential and renewable energy related property development, and assists corporate occupiers with portfolio management issues. Ian Brothwood, who jointly heads the department, is acting for a leading SIPP provider on the £5m sale of development land to a national care home provider. Brothwood also advised Topland Henley Healthcare Investments on the sale of a £25m property portfolio – just one feature of the portfolio management services provided to this healthcare client. Fello joint practice head and residential investment and development specialist, Nigel Morton is assisting Cantel Developments with a mixed-use retail and residential development in London. Consultant Geoffrey Jordan specialises in land promotion and development and is advising Colethrop Farm on the restructuring of an option agreement in connection with a 2,000-home site in Gloucester. Also recommended are Jonathan Wilkinson, who has particular experience of transactions for SIPP and SSAS trustees, and senior associate Naomi Nettleton, who focuses on portfolio investment and corporate occupier work.

Royds Withy King’s real estate group handles the full range of property work across a variety of sectors, including social and primary care, wildlife and environmental charities, retail, leisure and hospitality, and pensions. The department includes several partners with experience in secured lending and real estate finance, as well as an active residential development practice led by Edward Cooke, whose developer clients include Kersfield Group and Hullavington LLP. Department head Paul Daniels specialises in the acquisition and disposal of care homes and hotels, and handles property transactions for pension schemes; he acted for The Kaleidoscope Collection on the time-sensitive acquisition of the former Carfax Hotel in Bath. Daniels also led a team advising Balfour Beatty Group on the letting of commercial units at Cheswick Village, Bristol to a number of large retailers. The Swindon-based Martin Evans acted for a regional mobile homes park operator on its corporate reorganisation and subsequent separation of five existing parks between two different group companies. Also recommended are Sarah Sibley in Bath, who specialises in landlord and tenant work and freehold acquisitions and disposals for corporate clients; and Peter Foskett, who leads the property team in Swindon.

Thrings LLP’s commercial property group handles landlord and tenant issues and transactional matters involving pension funds, but is particularly well known for advising landowners and landed estates in strategic land and options agreements. Alan Goulding and Edward Jackman are noted experts in negotiating options and promotion agreements for potential land development; Jackman acts for various landowning clients on land sales and option agreements with residential developers. Specialising in pension fund property and real estate investment, practice co-head Alex Pinhey acted for pension fund clients on several multimillion-pound property purchases as well as a refinancing of multiple London-based retail and restaurant units. Charlotte Barrett focuses on portfolio management and secured lending work for corporate occupiers. The group also has capabilities in renewable energy related property work through associate Iain Mason. Although based primarily in Bristol, Warren Reid works across all of the firm’s regional offices and jointly heads the property team along with Pinhey.

The commercial property team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys has an established reputation for its work in the education and charity sectors and also has an active secured lending practice. Mark Fabian heads the department and has handled multiple real estate acquisitions, including assisting Bruton Knowles Property Consultants, a national surveyor firm, in relation to the property aspects of the relocation of its head office. Fabian’s other clients include regional property investor Cheltine Limited, for which he handles a range of property portfolio matters. Mark Carter leads the secured lending practice and also handles site transactions for The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire; recent highlights included the £1.5m sale of a Gloucestershire site to Lidl, conditional on planning permission for expansion. Carter’s lender clients include Lloyds Bank, HSBC, Santander and Paragon Bank. The department also acts for education sector clients such as Gloucestershire College.

Stone King LLP’s ‘prompt and knowledgeable’ real estate team handles a steady flow of work for a host of longstanding clients and attracts praise for its ‘expertise in what are often quite niche areas of law’, and for its sector specialisms in charity and education. ‘Pragmatic, erudite and responsive’ department head Hugh Pearce acted for Oxford Diocese on the £7.1m sale of an investment estate. The team’s other highlights included advising on the funding of the £7m acquisition of Wentworth Woodhouse, while ‘calm and sensible’ associate Kathryn Williams acted for The Girls Day School Trust in relation to the sale of surplus properties following the merger of two schools and the construction of a new building. Sarah Lane leads the business property unit, which acts as sole legal advisers to No.1 Lounges. Stephanie Howarth specialises in property investment and finance work on behalf of developers and funders.

Clients of Willans LLP rate its ‘sensible, understandable advice’, ‘rounded, commercial understanding’ and ‘first-class client care’, which the firm applies across a wide variety of sectors and clients, including a growing number of corporate tenants and investors. The ‘pleasant and professionalNigel Whittaker heads the practice and provides ongoing transactional advice and landlord/tenant assistance to clients such as Scope, Sue Ryder and Macmillan Cancer Support. In one cross-disciplinary matter, the team acted for Cavendish Homes on the construction of an office extension in Cheltenham; Whittaker handled the agreements for lease and tenant’s work, and ‘the patient and thoroughSusie Wynne assisted the client with the construction documentation. Laurence Lucas joined Lanyon Bowdler in 2017.

Clark Holt’s property department handles development and real estate finance work. The team was strengthened in 2016 with the addition of Rachel Booth from Field Seymour Parkes LLP, who brought a thriving housebuilder practice to the firm and also handles landlord and tenant matters. Booth acted for a landowner in relation to a material variation on an option agreement concerning a multimillion-pound deal with Bovis Homes. Department head Alasdair Kirkpatrick advised Svenska Handelsbanken AB on the surrender of an existing lease and the negotiation of a new lease for office premises. Jonathan Ashbridge advised Westbourne Capital Partners and Meyer Bergman on the high-value acquisition of properties to complete the site assembly scheme for the redevelopment of a large part of Queensway and Bayswater in London.

Knights Professional Services Limited’s Cheltenham office has dedicated partners focusing on a range of commercial property matters. The team is led by Mark Anton-Smith, who has expertise in property investment and retail and acts for clients such as Paddy Power, First Property Group and Yorkshire Building Society. Russell Coddington acts for institutional investor clients such as M&G Real Estate and has experience of property acquisition and disposals in the mining and mineral sectors. Tracy Gibson is another partner in the department and has experience of a range of transactional and development work.

The Cheltenham-based real estate team at Lodders Solicitors LLP acts for national and regional property developers in the residential and commercial sectors, and also handles property finance and investment. The department is led by the ‘diligent, commercial and approachablePaul Mourton, who handles investment property transactions and larger-scale development projects for residential and commercial clients. Mourton assisted Hinton Properties with the £15m purchase of a site in Cheltenham for the development of a supermarket, and handles portfolio management issues for clients such as IM Properties, which he advised on the £205m of a portfolio of 13 distribution warehouses. The team’s other highlights included advising CM Downton Haulage on a 20-year lease of a distribution warehouse. St Modwen Developments, Rybrook Holdings and Spitfire Properties are also clients.

Acting across the firm’s Sherborne, Wells and Bath offices, Mogers Drewett LLP’s commercial property team acts for a range of retailers, investors, developers and funders. In 2016, practice head Justin Hopkins acted for an estate agent in relation to a large, multimillion-pound portfolio restructuring. Hopkins also worked alongside associate Megan Asquith for an educational institution on a multimillion-pound property disposal. In an example of corporate tenant work, the team assisted Monster Energy Europe with an agreement to lease premises that will form part of its UK office operations. Amanda Inch is based in the firm’s Wells office and specialises in acting for landowners and developers in relation to development contracts, options and promotion agreements.

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Legal Developments in South West for Commercial property: M4 Corridor and Gloucestershire

  • 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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