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Editorial

Commercial property: Cardiff

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Cardiff
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Eversheds LLP’s eight-partner team provides a ‘first-class’ service to local, UK and international clients including TfL, SEGRO and Annington Property. Geraint Pullen Thomasalways goes the extra mile’ and provides ‘commercial advice’ to clients in the energy sector, where he regularly works alongside team head James Trafford. Kevin Booth has a focus on developer work and recently advised Persimmon Homes on a strategic land acquisition in Bridgend. Nefydd Jones is a leading figure. Also recommended are the ‘superbDavid Watkins, Helen Thomas, who represents corporate occupiers on their property needs, and David Emberson, who specialises in investor and real estate finance work.

Acuity Legal Limited acts for asset managers, lenders and developers on major infrastructure, housing and regeneration schemes. In addition to the team’s recent high-profile work for Rightacres Property and Legal & General on the £400m funding of Central Square in Cardiff, it also recently concluded the Ely Mill housing project on behalf of the Principality Building Society, one of the joint venture parties involved in this innovative affordable housing deal. Jonathan Geen, Steve Morris, Gareth Baker and Damien Cann are recommended.

Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘excellent real estate team’ is perhaps best known for its public sector work, which shows no signs of slowing, as illustrated by its recent appointment by Swansea City Council to act on its £400m city centre regeneration. The team is also picking up more private sector mandates on behalf of a varied mix of developers, owners and financiers. Team head Geoff Reed advised Julian Hodge Bank on the development and sale of a mixed-use scheme in Dunstable. The ‘excellentNigel Griffiths continues to handle retail leasing work on behalf of longstanding client Canary Wharf Group plc. Philip Jardine and James Egan are also recommended.

At Geldards LLP, team head Susanne Bradley regularly acts on significant public sector regeneration schemes and continues to represent Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council on the regeneration of Neath town centre. Liz Ganderton (who is praised for her ‘customer service and commerciality’) recently advised Chubb Common Investment Fund on the £34m sale of an investment property in Greater Manchester. Also recommended are Ioan Owen, Robert James and Mike Jeffs, who ‘knows his stuff’ when it comes to secured lending mandates.

Hugh James’ strength in the public sector was recently illustrated by the firm’s appointment to the National Procurement Service’s real estate framework. The team also has a strong reputation in residential development work; team head Peter Hurn led advice to the Walters Group on the disposal of the final 32 acres of residential development land from Walters’ Jubilee Park site in Rogerstone, south Wales. Also recommended are Yvonne Davies and Caroline O’Flaherty, for their work within social housing and education, respectively.

Headed by Roger Berry, Berry Smith’s three-partner team acts for a broad range of clients including banks (HSBC, Santander), developers/investors (Short Bros Developments) and local authorities (Bridgend County Borough Council). The ‘commercial’ Martin Pursall has a focus on real estate finance and is advising Principality Building Society on various secured loans over development sites throughout the UK. Chris Jones is recommended for residential development work.

Led by Leanne O’Brien, Capital Law LLP’s two-partner team handles work for lenders and developers. Justin Mason has niche expertise handling marina and crematoria developments, and is advising Jericho Wharf Trust on the community aspects of the regeneration of Jericho Wharf in Oxford.

At Darwin Gray LLP, team head Donald Gray and senior associate Catherine Burke recently acted for the purchaser of a development site in south London, which has planning permission for a split-level tower block. Clients include ACT, Mill Bay Homes and Ixion Developments.

At Howells Solicitors, Rhidian Hobbs has expertise in landlord and tenant work as well as development and business transfers.


Commercial property: Elsewhere in Wales

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Elsewhere in Wales
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Benefiting from excellent connections in south west Wales and also increasingly active in England, Morgan LaRoche Limited’s well-regarded practice is noted for its ‘focused approach’. The team continues to handle property work for care home operators (including Hallmark Healthcare Group) and also has been increasingly active in the vibrant education sector including handling various estate management issues for Swansea University. Kevin Thomas, Ann Thomas, Rosemary Morgan and William Waters are recommended.

Douglas-Jones Mercer handles property transactions for a number of pensions providers including Sanlam Life & Pensions. The team also handles secured lending work for Principality Building Society and Handelsbanken. Michael Snowdon heads the two-partner team.

Headed by Mike Jenkins and now including Alison Ivin following her arrival from Darwin Gray LLP in December 2015, Harding Evans LLP's two-partner team has a credible real estate offering and receives instructions from a broad array of stakeholders including developers, building contractors and banks. Bolstered by Ivin's significant planning expertise, the firm is particularly accomplished at development work and handles a range of mandates relating to city centre redevelopments, new hotels and industrial and office acquisitions.

At JCP Solicitors, the ‘responsive’ Mark Gilroy heads the team and handles a significant amount of property finance work. Chris Davies is singled out for healthcare-related property matters. The recent opening of two new offices in Carmarthen has further enhanced the firm’s ability to serve rural clients in west Wales.

Gabb and Co provides a ‘solid service’ to developers and investors, as well as landlords and tenants in the granting and taking of leases. The team also has strong ties with the local agricultural community and consequently is instructed on a host of related property issues. David Lloyd is recommended.

Red Kite Law LLP has a strong reputation in south west Wales for its commercial property expertise, which includes leases, developments, planning and issues relating to agricultural land. Lucy Morris heads the team.


Construction

Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Eversheds LLP has ‘an excellent grasp of current market trends’, particularly pertaining to energy-related construction projects, both domestically and abroad. Practice head Rob McNabb is advising Glennmont on the development of a major biomass project in Teeside. Associate Alison Short provides ‘highly strategic advice’ relating to construction contracts for major infrastructure projects.

As well as significant domestic instructions, including recent work for Rightacres on the development and construction of Wales Broadcasting House, Acuity Legal Limited’s ‘high-quality’ construction team is also picking up an increased level of mandates outside of Wales, such as its representation of the developer on the conversion of a former fire station in Southwark into a free school and the construction of a number of residential and commercial units. Team head James Williams and senior associate Jonathan Culley provide ‘an excellent service and clear guidance’.

At Hugh James, Alun Tobias continues to represent Ely Mill Development Company on the £100m project to remediate and develop a 53-acre brownfield site in Cardiff. Led by the ‘excellentIoan Prydderch, the team advises private and public sector clients including the Welsh government, Willmott Dixon and Raymond Brown. Iwan Jenkins and senior associate Matthew Stevens are also recommended.

Blake Morgan LLP handles contentious and non-contentious work for developers, contractors, housing associations and local government. Rachel Gwilliam is advising Cardiff University on the establishment of consultant and contractor framework agreements to support the development, maintenance and management of the university’s estate. Joanna Rees is appreciated by clients for her ability to ‘focus on the important facts and not waste time or effort on peripheral matters’.

Headed by the ‘exceptional’ Philip Graham (who is regarded as a ‘litigator par excellence’), Douglas-Jones Mercerpunches above its weight’ and provides a ‘fantastic level of service’ to clients including Dawnus Construction Holdings, Haywood Homes and Rowecard Holdings. Clients also rate the ‘hardworking’ and ‘tenacious’ Graham for his ability to ‘cut through the nonsense and distil the case into the critical issues’.

At Berry Smith, the ‘commercially minded’ Iwan Doull handles contentious matters for a range of developers, contractors and architects.

On the non-contentious side, Capital Law LLP’s Jeremy Williams is a ‘great lawyer’ with a wealth of expertise, particularly on energy projects. Williams is representing Dragon LNG on the drafting and negotiation of the works contracts for the reliquefaction project at its refinery. The practice is rounded out on the contentious side by the ‘very experienced’ Phil Jones, who is ‘a canny and forceful construction litigator’.

At Darwin Gray LLP, Stephen Thompson handles contentious construction work as part of his broader commercial litigation practice, while Donald Gray focuses on non-contentious work including drafting bespoke amendments to building and engineering contracts.

Morgan LaRoche Limited’s team head Stephen Mundy handles contentious and non-contentious work for a range of clients including housing associations and airport operators.


Planning and environment

Index of tables

  1. Planning and environment
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

One of the few practices in Wales to have a dedicated planning team, Eversheds LLP provides a ‘first-class service’ to clients including Taylor Wimpey, Annington and EDF Energy Renewables. Senior associate and team head Jo Waddington regularly assists clients on Section 106 obligations and Environmental Impact Assessments. On the contentious front, Marcus Trinick QC has a ‘wealth of knowledge’ within the renewables sector, where he is noted as ‘the industry’s most experienced advocate’, particularly in relation to wind farm appeals. Senior associate Kee Evans is also recommended.

Led by Charles Felgate, Geldards LLP has a strong reputation advising on the planning aspects of major infrastructure projects. Felgate recently successfully defended a judicial review by Friends of the Earth against the decision of the Welsh Ministers to adopt a plan for the M4 corridor around Newport. Huw Williams also handles planning issues as part of his broader public law practice.

Hugh James’ multidisciplinary group draws on lawyers from the firm’s construction, energy and projects teams to handle transactional, regulatory and litigation work for clients including Barratt Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Natural Resources Wales. Associate Shelley Ikram heads the firm’s planning team and has a strong reputation advising on large-scale residential and commercial development schemes.

Leveraging its strong real estate and commercial litigation capability, Acuity Legal Limited’s cross-disciplinary group is regularly engaged to advise on the planning aspects of major infrastructure, housing and regeneration schemes. Team head Steve Morris is advising the developers of the Cardiff International Ice Arena and adjoining Cardiff Pointe residential development, a matter which has entailed considerable planning and environmental considerations (including three Section 106 agreements). The firm was also appointed to the National Procurement Service’s panel for public sector planning and environment work in south Wales.

Darwin Gray LLP regularly handles planning aspects out of its broader commercial real estate offering. Donald Gray is advising ABA Holdings on the redevelopment of a Grade II listed warehouse on Porthcawl harbour, which due to its location involved considerable environmental and planning considerations.


Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Deeply entrenched in the local market and also receiving instructions from outside of Wales, Blake Morgan LLP handles property litigation for public and private sector clients including the Welsh government, The National Trust and Canary Wharf Group. Team head Sian Jones and senior associate Russell Price are best known for acting on contested CPO work, high-value dilapidation claims, and bulk residential disrepair claims.

Headed out of Cardiff by the ‘proactiveKathryn Cook, Eversheds LLP’s property litigation team provides a ‘first-class’ service to corporates, developers, housebuilders and financial institutions. Cook has ‘a very strong understanding of the commercial world’ and continues to act for the Forestry Commission across its diverse portfolio. Other clients include Centrica, RWE Npower and Annington Property.

Geldards LLP provides a ‘responsive and thoughtful service’ across a range of matters including dilapidations, break clause disputes and landlord and tenant disputes. The team regularly acts for Boots in litigation arising from its property portfolio, and recently represented it in a landlord and tenant dispute regarding one of its commercial leases in Nottingham. The team also has niche expertise on property-related issues arising in the water industry. Team head Ed Meggitt is ‘very effective at getting the right result’, and is recommended alongside ‘technically proficient’ senior associate Nicola Lawrence.

Hugh James has significant traction in the market among public and private sector clients including Welsh Rugby Union, South Wales Police, Cardiff County Council and Barratt Homes. Robert Phillips leads the team, which has a breadth of litigation expertise covering a number of disciplines including social housing law, agricultural tenancies and commercial landlord and tenant issues.

Headed by Iwan Doull (who has ‘excellent local court procedural knowledge’), Berry Smith fields a team of ‘good solid operators with a real specialism for property litigation’. Doull continues to represent HB Thomas in an ongoing high-value claim for dilapidations relating to a listed Georgian property leased for over 40 years to Carmarthenshire County Council. Simon Care is singled out for his ‘great attention to detail’.

Led by Neil Morgan and Rhodri Lewis, Darwin Gray LLP’s two-partner team handles property litigation for a diverse array of clients including housebuilders (Barratt, Persimmon Homes), developers (Monnow Developments) and social landlords (Coastal HA).

Dolmans acts for management companies, landlords and tenants across a range of disputes including those relating to rent review and covenant breaches. Simon Evans regularly represents local authorities in property cases.

At JCP Solicitors, team head Sarah Davies is ‘excellent at landlord and tenant or dilapidation disputes’. Richard Howells and Rory Hutchings handle property-related agricultural matters out of the firm’s Carmarthen office.

Morgan LaRoche Limited’s ‘superb’ team head Jason Williams has an excellent track record representing clients in property disputes and recently secured a notable victory before the Supreme Court for a landlord in a service charge case regarding holiday chalets.


Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

At Blake Morgan LLP, the ‘practical and pragmaticSian Jones heads a ‘strong team’ that includes ‘dynamic, forward-thinking and committed’ senior associate Louise Howells, who has a ‘depth of knowledge within property issues’, and Penri Desscan, who handles procurement projects for housing associations. Clients include Pennaf Group, Melin Homes, Newport City Homes, Merthyr Valley Homes and Coastal Group.

Headed by Iwan Jenkins, Hugh James has a longstanding position at the forefront of social housing law in Wales and acts for over 40 housing associations and RSLs. Along with Caroline O’Flaherty, Jenkins has been at the forefront of the firm’s flourishing relationship with Coastal Housing Group and has advised it on a number of city centre regeneration projects including the Rhiw Gateway project to regenerate Bridgend town centre. Yvonne Davies, consultant David Roberts and senior associate Bethan Gladwyn are also recommended.

At Acuity Legal Limited, team head Jonathan Geen has ‘a vast knowledge of the social housing market’, covering land acquisition through to funding models and land appraisals. Damien Cann is an expert in investment funded development and management structures for affordable housing and was part of a cross-disciplinary team that represented Principality Building Society on its collaboration with the developer and the Welsh government to provide affordable housing at the old paper mill in Ely, Cardiff.

Since opening its office in Cardiff in May 2015, Clarke Willmott LLP has rapidly gained traction in the market and is noted for the ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ service it provides to lenders and housing associations, including Melin Homes, Rhondda Housing Association and Lloyds Bank. Team head Vicky Kells and Fraser MacRae are ‘experts in their field and provide sound advice’ on secured lending and housing finance. Anne Hayward retired in December 2015.

At Darwin Gray LLP, team head Neil Morgan regularly acts for social landlords on their most pressing matters, and for housing associations on anti-social behaviour cases. The team was bolstered in January 2016 by the arrival of senior associate Jamie Saunders, who joined having previously had an in-house role at a housing association. Clients include NPT Homes and Coastal Housing.

Geldards LLP’s multidisciplinary practice ensures it is able to provide a comprehensive service to social housing clients across the gamut of issues including secured lending and development acquisitions. Michael Jeffs and Liz Ganderton are key contacts, while charity law expert Giselle Davies adds expertise in governance issues. Clients include NPT Homes, First Choice Housing Association and Cadarn Housing Group.

Headed by Heather Iqbal Rayner, Duncan Lewis Solicitors represents vulnerable individuals in a wide variety of cases against housing associations including disputes relating to anti-social behaviour and unlawful eviction cases. The team’s litigation expertise also includes judicial review challenges against public authorities.


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