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Commercial property: Birmingham

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Birmingham
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Birmingham clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP impresses with the strength and depth of its practice, and continued to be instructed on many of the most significant mandates in the region. Global practice head Gurjit Atwal advised Birmingham City Council on the sale of Grand Central to Hammerson for £345m, and together with Birmingham practice head David Jones, acted for the Paradise Circus joint venture on phase two of its premier office development in Birmingham city centre. In other highlights, the team handled a number of substantial private rented sector (PRS) mandates in the city centre, including Atwal assisting Nikal with its £100m PRS development scheme at Exchange Square, Masshouse, and Jones representing Seven Capital in the forward funding and sale of Landsdowne House, a 206-unit PRS scheme in Hagley road. On the residential side, the team is regularly instructed by the likes of Barratt and Taylor Wimpey; national head of residential development Philip Medford acted for the latter in the purchase of part of the landmark Rugby Gateway scheme for residential development. Another key player is Iftkhar Ahmed, who leads on work for major corporates and advised Nuffield Health on the acquisition of 35 gym sites from Virgin Active. The practice’s premier real estate client base also includes Land Securities and Hammerson.

Gowling WLG’s diverse client base encompasses investors, commercial and residential developers and corporate occupiers, and the substantial team remained highly active in 2016. In development work, for which the practice is perhaps best known, head of regeneration Richard Beckingsale is representing Barnet Council in the £4bn development of Brent Cross, Cricklewood, which includes redevelopment of a shopping centre, construction of 7,000 homes and up to 4m sq ft of new office space; and housing specialist Duncan Murphy was highly active on residential development schemes for clients such as Bellway and Persimmon. The practice is regularly instructed by a number of powerhouse investor clients, such as Blackstone and CBRE Global Investment Partners, and Michael Twining advised the latter in relation to the purchase of a retail scheme at Willowbrook Centre, Bristol. In other highlights, the team continued to be instructed on high-profile Birmingham city centre mandates, including Susan Bennett advising Ballymore on the £200m development funding from M&G Real Estate in relation to Three Snowhill, Queensway, and John Burns representing Carval on the purchase of StarCity, Watson Road. Practice head Richard Bate, and Mike Trainer, who specialises in development and investment in the industrial, retail and office sectors, are also names to note.

Gateley Plc’s practice is best known for its strong housebuilder following, and the team remained highly active in the residential space for the likes of Bellway and Persimmon Homes. Highly regarded practice co-head Callum Nuttall acted for Bloor Homes in a 4,115-home development at North West Cheltenham, and also represented Taylor Wimpey and Redrow in the development of 1,450 new homes together with a primary school, commercial area and health centre at Wrexham Road, Chester. The practice is jointly led by Rebecca Sherwin, who has a particular focus on residential development finance and the finance of investment portfolios, and in one example of work advised HSBC on facilities secured over eight shopping centres valued, in aggregate, at £25m. On the investment side, Richard Pettifor handled a number of international mandates, including assisting Mountpark/USAA with the £40m acquisition of a development site at Manchester City Airport; and James Madill advised Aldgate Property on the conditional long leasehold purchase and simultaneous conditional pre-let of new build independent cinema premises and two restaurant units in Central London. The practice expanded via the promotion to the partnership of Helen Roberts and Robert Thompson.

In 2016, Pinsent Masons LLP’s team secured the key role on a number of significant corporate and insolvency transactions involving real estate entities. Practice head Tom Johnson, who ‘combines good technical knowledge with commerciality’, advised on the property aspects of AMC Entertainment’s £921m acquisition of Odeon & UCI Cinema Group, and legal director Carl Scott, who ‘provides detailed advice within very quick turnaround times’, assisted KPMG with the property element of the pre-pack administration sale of Ed's Easy Diner Group to Giraffe Concepts. The team was also instructed on a number of significant investment mandates, with Lisa Middleton, who leads on investment work in the Midlands, acting for IM Properties on the £200m sale of an industrial property portfolio to Employee Provident Fund, and Tom Eastwood representing CBRE Global Investors in various purchases and sales, including the sale of a retail warehouse estate in Reading. Other names to note are David Meecham, who provides ‘good practical commercial advice’ to public sector clients such as the Homes and Communities Agency, regeneration specialist Kultar Khangura, and Joel Kordan, who was highly active in the transport sector. The practice enhanced its offering with several hires at the junior end, including senior associate John Adams from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

Shoosmiths LLPprovides an exemplary, first-class service and sound commercial advice’ to clients such as John Lewis Pension Fund and Kwik Fit, and the team continued to be busy in its key sectors of retail, automobile and education. Managing partner Jason Jackson, who is a ‘shrewd operator’, was highly active in the industrial property space, where examples of his work included acting for IM Properties on the £50m sale of the group’s warehouse portfolio; assisting with a joint venture between Bridges Sustainable Property Fund and Opus Land relating to the purchase and development of 283,000 sq ft of grade A industrial space at Kingswood Lakeside, Cannock; and representing new client Atlantic Leaf Properties in the £100m purchase of a portfolio of eight investment properties. Other names to note include James Needham, who focuses on commercial developments and acted for Stoford Developments on the purchase, development and construction of 80,000 sq ft of office and logistics space; finance specialist Andrew Tubbs; as well as head of housing Bhavesh Amlani and Gavin Le Chat, who lead on residential development work.

Squire Patton Boggs’ strong corporate offering ensures that the team is active on a range of mandates for corporate occupiers. Recent examples include Victoria Camfield representing PricewaterhouseCoopers in its relocation to a new building in the course of construction at Paradise in Birmingham City Centre, and managing partner Nick Green acting for London Taxi Company in its acquisition of a brownfield site for the development of a £250m manufacturing facility. The team is also regularly engaged on the property aspects of corporate transactional work, and in one highlight senior associate Mohammed Alam advised on the sale of MacDonald Humfrey (Automation) Limited to L-3 Communications. Sector strengths include hotels, hospitality and leisure, healthcare and charity, and Green assisted Amaris Hospitality with the £500m refinancing of the Jurys Inn portfolio. Another name to note is Neil Taylor, who focuses on residential development work for the likes of Orbit Group and Persimmon Homes. The practice was diminished by the retirement of Anne O’Meara, and the departure of Monique Sutherland to DLA Piper UK LLP.

DLA Piper UK LLP’s ‘very commercial’ team has ‘significant knowledge and experience and finds solutions to difficult issues’. The ‘extremely reliable’ Roger Collier leads on corporate occupier work and acts for the likes of Busy Bees Group and Aggregate Industries UK; Collier advised on the real estate aspects of Amber Real Estate Investments purchase of Bernard Matthews Foods. Another key player is Monique Sutherland, who joined the firm from Squire Patton Boggs. Sutherland, who ‘takes ownership of legal discussions’, was busy on a range of mandates for the public and third sector, including advising Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council on variations to a housing development in Nuneaton, and representing the Land Restoration Trust in the acquisition of eight sites. Sutherland also regularly advises the National Grid on regulated and unregulated real estate transactions. The practice is led by development specialist Fiona Thomson, who is acting for Gulf Ventures in relation to the ongoing development and unit disposals of a £40m distribution park in Warwickshire.

Fieldfisher LLP is probably best known for its work in the development space, where Sue Simpson’s combined planning and property expertise benefits clients such as Cambridge Medipark and CALA Group. Simpson is acting for Skanska on the £150m development of 1,250 homes and a commercial centre at the former army barracks in Deepcut, Camberley, and is also advising Jumbuk on the development of three commercial units at Mill Race Park, Stourbridge. Another important figure in the development space is Jonathan Wright, who handles a mix of commercial and residential development for clients such as Countryside Properties. On the investment side, former chartered surveyor Mark Lee continued to be active on a number of mandates for key client IM Properties, including advising in relation to the £46m sale of a multi-let retail park in Croydon to LaSalle Investment Management.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice demonstrates ‘very good depth of knowledge, with a varied-ability team to deal with both day-to-day transactional work right up to complex strategic property advice’. Key players include Kevin Nagle, who provides ‘clear-cut advice in a no-nonsense manner’, and James Gooch, whose caseload takes in cross-border investment work; Nagle and Gooch advised Ceva Logistics on an agreement with Nike for a 10-year lease and the construction of a new warehouse. The practice also has a number of recommended finance lawyers, including Islamic finance specialist Mohammed Saqub, who ‘always adds value to processes and understanding’, ‘quasi guru’ Stephen Lane and the ‘diligent’ Alexander Price. On the residential development side, national head of practice Debbie Irwin acted for Persimmon Homes in relation to the conditional purchase of a site in Tyseley for 200 homes, and also advised BDW Trading on the £75m acquisition of a development site for 13,000 plots. Leicester-based John Edmond heads the practice.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s practice is probably best known for its expertise in the public sector, where clients include Telford and Wrekin Council, Coventry City Council and the Department of Business Innovation and Skills. In one example of work, Lisa McGinn is advising the Homes and Communities Agency on the £3m disposal of a site in Aston to Aviva. Thomas Howard focuses on the health sector and regularly acts for NHS trusts on property mandates, while Dominic Swift specialises in strategic site assembly for multi-academy trusts such as Shrewsbury Academies Trust. The team is also handling an increasing amount of work for private sector clients, and McGinn represented Summix on the £1.8m acquisition and sub-sale of a long leasehold interest in a prime canal-side site in central Birmingham from the Canal and River Trust.

At DWF, head of hospitality Melanie Williams has particular expertise in the acquisition of hotels, development and refurbishment projects and asset management for investors. Williams handled a number of mandates for Premier Inn and Whitbread Group, including advising on the sale of freehold and leasehold land, forward funding and development of a hub hotel at King’s Cross, London; she also acted for Maven Capital (Shire Hall Durham) in the acquisition and development of a Grade II listed building into a four-star 81-bedroom boutique hotel. Another area of expertise is the public sector, and the team represented key client, the Homes and Communities Agency, in relation to the acquisition of land at Warwick Bar. National head of practice Toby Askin specialises in the retail sector, where he advises landlords, developers and investors on shopping centres and retail park schemes; Askin divides his time between Birmingham and London.

Emms Gilmore Liberson’s team ‘has a personal touch lacking with larger practices, and shows attention to detail at all levels of the business’. Head of practice Mark Dakeyne, who has a ‘razor-sharp mind and is always able to see the bigger picture’, has a strong developer following, which includes Stoford Developments and Ashford Developments. Dakeyne acted for Shirley Advance in the £16m sale of a mixed-use town centre redevelopment scheme in Shirley, Solihull. The team is also regularly instructed by private landowners on development and disposals, and in one example, associate Beth Margetson, who is ‘always one step ahead and consistently provides a solution to any problem faced’, represented the Gooch Estate on the £4m disposal of a site at Upper Dean Street, Birmingham. Associate Simon Jobson is ‘reliable and customer-focused’ and is advising Warwickshire College on the sale, leaseback and development of new student accommodation adjoining the main campus.

Irwin Mitchell’s team is led by Ben Acheson, who has particular expertise in mixed-use development schemes; Acheson acted for key client Henry Davidson Developments in a number of mandates, including advising on a £10m mixed-use development scheme in Peterborough, and assisting with the acquisition and development of land in Queens Hills, Norwich for use as a care home, mixed-use residential and retail building, and various town houses. The team was enhanced by the hire of dual-qualified (UK/Scotland) Martin McQueen, who joined from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. McQueen specialises in residential development and cross-border acquisition, disposal and refinance work, and in a recent matter he assisted Barratt Homes West Midlands with the £6m acquisition and site set-up of a former latex factory in Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove, for the development of a 250-unit residential estate. On the finance side, Acheson and McQueen advised SEP Properties on the refinance of a 49-property portfolio with Handelsbanken. Persimmon Homes and Lloyds Bank are also clients of the practice.

Mills & Reeve LLP provides ‘rapid, considered and pragmatic advice’ to a range of education sector clients, including Aston University, the Auriga Academy Trust, and Hammersmith & West London College. Christian Bull has a ‘very good understanding of the university sector’ and is representing Coventry University in its £14m Scarborough campus project; and in another example of higher education work, Bull is assisting Birmingham City University with the relocation of the Birmingham Conservatoire to a new £40m facility at Millennium Point. Principal associate Robbie Turner leads on automotive work and delivers ‘sound advice in a clear, concise way’, and Michael Whatley, who specialises in acting for corporate occupiers and clients in the healthcare sector, advised Bright Horizons Family Solutions on the property aspects of its acquisition of Asquith Day Nurseries and Pre-Schools. Beverley Firth heads the department from Cambridge.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s newly formed team is led by regeneration specialist Amanda Hanmore and includes Christopher Plumley, who joined from Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP, and senior associate Simon Robinson, who joined from Gowling WLG. The team handles a good mix of public and private sector work, with recent examples including advising West Midlands Metropolitan Pension Fund on the acquisition of a retail park in Pontefract, and acting for Inox Group in a joint venture with Henry Boot Developments in relation to the acquisition and development of a mixed-use retail site including 200 residential units. Plumley has particular expertise in advising public sector clients on mixed-use developments and is assisting Tamworth Borough Council with its proposed joint venture town centre redevelopment.

At VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards), Clive Read and senior associate Julie Newell were busy on a variety of investment and development mandates for local authorities and education providers. For key client Coventry County Council, the team acted in the development of a mixed-use scheme (with a substantial student housing component) in Coventry city centre, and also advised on the proposed sale and redevelopment of brownfield parcels of land to Whitefriars Housing Association. Mandates in the education sector included representing Barnet and Southgate College in the sale of a former campus to Enfield Council, and assisting the University of Cumbria with the sale of a site in Ambleside to a developer. Consultant Adrian Watson, who handles private sector work, and charity sector specialist Anne Holmes are the other names to note.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is ‘especially good with charitable and not-for-profit organisations’ and the team remained active in this regard in 2016: senior associate Dominic Curran advised ADA – NCDS on various matters, including a lease for a short-term business site, and a development agreement for a site in Tottenham Hale. The team also handled instructions for clients such as Sense and the Riverside Group, and practice head Robert Hallott assisted a number of housing associations with joint ventures for a mixture of affordable housing and for-sale housing.

For one commentator, Bevan Brittan LLP is ‘one of the best in the field for working on NHS disposals’, and the practice has a strong relationship with NHS Property Services, for which it remained busy in relation to development work as well as lease acquisition and disposal. Another important client is City of London Corporation, and Sandy Munroe acted for said client in the redevelopment of the former Richard Cloudesley School site and the adjacent Adult Education Centre to create a free school and 70 social housing units. Munroe, who ‘works like a Trojan and will turn documents around quickly in time-pressured transactions’, also assisted Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation with its leasehold portfolio management.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s team is probably best known for its work in the retail sector, where it regularly handles development and investment instructions for one of the leading international supermarket chains. Other clients of the practice are David Wilson Homes North West and Ingersoll-Rand. Key contacts include practice head Iain Harrison and Jonathan Morton, with the latter praised for ‘offering a high level of professionalism and commercial service’.

At Freeths LLP, managing partner Richard Beverley and Mitchell Ball continued to be active in the retail sector, where clients range from major supermarket chains to fashion boutiques. The team is also regularly instructed by the public sector, and advised Central Bedfordshire Council on its public-private partnership with Telereal Trillium to dispose of a 168-acre site at Arlesey.

Sydney Mitchell LLP’s team includes the ‘knowledgeable, prompt and efficientStewart Coles, who has particular expertise in dealing with property transactions involving pension schemes, and regularly acts on behalf of SIPPs and SSASs on the purchase, sale and leasing of commercial premises. Coles also represents clients in the retail and hospitality sectors and in 2016 he advised investors on a number of hotel acquisitions. Head of practice Div Singh and finance specialist Fahmida Ismail are the other main contacts.

Weightmans LLP’s practice is led by Zo Hoida, who specialises in public sector regeneration projects for the likes of Walsall Council and Royal Borough of Greenwich. Hoida’s varied caseload also takes in investment mandates for foreign investors and secured lending, and recent examples of her work include acting for a Chinese investor on the £1.3m purchase of an investment property in Wolverhampton, and advising Santander on various financings, including a £7m facility for Panorama Property Investments secured over eight separate titles. West Midlands regional head Richard Osborn divides his time between the firm’s Birmingham and Leicester offices and ‘provides a good, personalised service that is flexible, adaptive and responsive’.

Commercial property: Elsewhere in the West Midlands

Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: Elsewhere in the West Midlands
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Commercial property: Elsewhere in the West Midlands clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Higgs & Sons’ ‘intelligent advice and good knowledge of the major issues’ helped it to secure a number of new clients in 2016, including Tatton Hall Homes and Gails. Richard Saxton ‘gets the deal done’ and acted for Talash Hotels on the purchase of Stoke Rochford Hall Hotel, and Sara Shepherd acted on the sale of numerous motor dealerships. The team further developed its capability in the property finance space, where it acts for a range of lenders, including Santander, RBS and Yorkshire Bank. The ‘very unflappable and ablePeter Coleman heads the team. At the junior end, the practice was boosted by the hire of development and investment specialist Ruth Scott from Lodders Solicitors LLP and James Adams from Gowling WLG. Philip Gray left the firm in 2017.

Lodders Solicitors LLP reported an uptick in development and large-scale strategic land matters in 2016, and in one example the team acted for Mark Stroud in the £3m sale of land adjacent to the M40 motorway for a new service area and retail scheme. The practice’s impressive client list includes the likes of St Modwen Properties and IM Properties, and Nick East acted for the latter in the sale of a portfolio of distribution warehouses. East also handled a number of mandates for Spitfire Properties, including advising on the acquisition of a development site in Birmingham city centre to be used as a high-profile private rented sector scheme. In the residential development space, James Mottram acts for major housebuilders such as Cameron Homes. The growing practice was further enhanced by the hires of development specialist Mark Miller and assistant solicitor Daniel MacLeod, both from Wright Hassall LLP. Paul Mourton heads the team and divides his time between the Cheltenham office and the Stratford upon Avon office.

Wright Hassall LLP’s ‘client-centric’ practice has seen some adjustment at the top, with David Slade taking over as head of the practice following the departures of Mark Miller to Lodders Solicitors LLP and Sat Bhandal. Slade, who is ‘very prompt, clear and concise’, focuses on investment work and acted for Queen Street in its £25m sale of Queen Street Apartments in Leicester to Aberdeen Asset Management. Other names to note include retail specialist Gill Worthington, Fiona Martin, who focuses on strategic land development work, and Barry Sankey; Sankey is ‘probably the leading solicitor in the UK practising in the science park sector’, according to one source, and recently he assisted the University of Warwick Science Park in negotiating a set of lease renewals across multiple buildings with aggregate rents of more than £4m. Lucie Byron was active in the secured lending space for HSBC, while Claire Waring, who now leads on development work, represented AC Lloyd in a £32m deal involving the relocation of an operational Stagecoach bus depot from Leamington town centre to a new, purpose-built site, and the redevelopment of the old, brownfield site for residential units.

Ansons is possibly best known for its work in the health sector, where it advises on property relating to pharmacies, as well as specialist builds such as learning disabilities centres, care homes and children’s nurseries. Additional areas of specialism include advising on the property aspects of telecom masts, solar energy farms and wind turbines, and also advising landowners in relation to the proposed HS2 development. Adele Wakefield now heads the practice following Simon James’ move to lead the firm’s agriculture practice. Wakefield focuses on transactional work, but also has expertise in areas such as asset management, residential development and secured lending. James, who is ‘extremely experienced and knowledgeable’, handled a number of disposals for agricultural land owners. Another name to note is associate Neil Faunch, who is ‘speedy, efficient and pleasant to work with’. The practice’s client base takes in FTSE-listed companies and major banks.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s sizeable practice acts for a range of clients, from owner-managed businesses, SMEs and PLCs through to investment clients, non-profit organisations and developers and retailers; the practice also handles a steady stream of property work for a major religious organisation client. In 2016, the team advised on a mix of high-value investment and development work, and also assisted with the re-mortgage of a substantial property portfolio. Key players include Telford-based Stephen Burke, who has specialist knowledge of the property aspects of franchising, Wolverhampton-based Andrew Wynne, who works predominantly with SME manufacturing clients, and Shrewsbury-based associate David Raymont, who is acting for WMC Retail Partners in the multimillion-pound development of Cornish Market World in St Austell. David Grove, who heads the department from Wolverhampton, has ‘some very good clients and punches well above his weight’; Grove continued to serve key client St Modwen Properties on a number of matters, including the development of a new mixed-use commercial centre in Worcester.

George Green LLP’s practice ‘always goes the extra mile’ and the team has particular expertise in secured lending transactions; in one example, Alex-Jayne Lowe advised Ortus Secured Finance on a secured bridging facility to Henley Developments to refinance a major residential development in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Highly rated practice head Kevin Styles was also busy in the finance space, where he advised both St Philips Care Group and Midlands Properties and Finance (Birmingham) on multimillion-pound refinancings. On the investment side, Styles and Lowe’s work included acting for Kendrick Homes on the purchase of a site in Warwickshire for 25 new homes, and assisting A. Perry with the acquisition of a site neighbouring its current premises. The team is mainly based in Cradley Heath, but also has a presence in Wolverhampton, where associate Paul Kettle has ‘vast industry knowledge and meets deadlines’. At the junior end, Judith Stone joined from Coley & Tilley. Key clients include St Francis Group and Scrivens.

At Knights Professional Services Limited, leasing specialist Karl Bamford handles asset management for large commercial portfolio owners such as M&G and Telereal Trillium, and also acts for a number of household retailers on transactional matters. Also of note is Hélène Maillet-Vioud, whose caseload includes assisting a French educational institution on all aspects of its London portfolio, with a particular emphasis on unusual shared occupation arrangements with other educational bodies. The team’s expertise extends to secured lending work for borrower clients, as well as advising on the property aspects of minerals work.

Lanyon Bowdler’s ‘extremely committed’ team provides ‘highly trusted and timely advice’ to small and medium sized developers, large farming companies, landowners and landed estates. The team specializes in residential property development and farmer/landowner real estate transactions, and in one example of work, planning specialist David Brammer, who is based in Shrewsbury, assisted a family trust with the £5m disposal of former agricultural land for residential development. Key players include senior partner Andrew Evans (also in Shrewsbury), Oswestry-based Emma Wilde, who has particular expertise in deals with renewables options and leases (including solar, hydro-schemes, turbine sites and diesel generation leases), and Telford-based practice head Praveen Chaudhari, who ‘takes the stress out of transactions’. The practice was further enhanced by the hire of Hereford-based Laurence Lucas, who joined from Willans LLP. Clients of the practice include Plastic Omnium Automotive, U&S Estates and Saxonby.

mfg Solicitors LLP’s ‘great overall knowledge in the property department’ takes in sectors such as leisure, energy, local government and charities, and in one highlight, Maynard Burton advised Clive Fletcher Developments on a substantial regeneration project comprising a 400-berth marina, 84 holiday apartments and associated retail outlets and facilities. The team reported an uptick in secured finance work, where names to note include Peter Copsey, who ‘ably juggles legal advice against commercial reality’, and Miles Dearden, who represented Worcester Properties on the construction finance from Octopus Property relating to the redevelopment of a commercial property into six mews houses comprising 48 units of student accommodation. Head of practice Sarah Astbury specialises in residential development and acted for a consortium of land owners in the £15m sale of land to a national housebuilder for 200 new homes. Another name to note is Michael Payne, who focuses on strategic land development, and acted on behalf of a consortium of 14 landowners in connection with the £20m sale of a 120-acre development site on the west side of Shrewsbury.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s practice advises developers and landowners in sectors such as energy, retail and education, and the team has a particular specialism in land acquisitions and releases for the purposes of student accommodation and care home developments. In the energy space, Richard Cox and Janet James regularly act for clients such as E.ON and National Grid on the property aspects of energy projects. Social housing specialist Louise Drew heads the team and focuses on large-scale disposals for registered providers and charities; in one example of work, Drew advised ExtraCare Charitable Trust on the £42m acquisition and onwards disposal of a large extra care scheme in Coventry. In another significant third sector mandate, Paul Huggins assisted WM Housing with the £7m leasehold acquisition of new office premises. The team is also active in the private residential sector, where Oxford Law and Spitfire Bespoke Homes are clients. UK Power Reserve is a new client win.

Band Hatton Button LLP services a broad range of clients and the team regularly assists Allied Irish Bank, the Heart of England Co-Operative Society and TalkTalk Mobile Phones with their property portfolios. Key sectors include charities, education, healthcare, leisure and retail, and owner-managed businesses. The team handled a number of sizeable office sales in 2016, including the acquisition by a client of a large multi-let business park set in north Oxfordshire, and the acquisition, development and disposal of a major office development in the centre of Reading. Further depth was afforded to the practice by the hire of Daniel Blood from Cocks Lloyd and senior associate Dina Parmar from Harrison Clark Rickerbys. Name partner Nick Button heads the team.

Beswicks Legal’s practice wins praise for its ability to ‘provide a full legal solution, often under extremely tight timescales’, and the team continued to handle a range of property matters including residential and commercial development, secured lending, asset management and investment. One particular specialism is the property aspects of sports and leisure projects, and head of practice Richard Saum, who ‘combines excellent legal knowledge with great commercial and practical awareness’, regularly advises clients in areas varying from the acquisition and development of ice rinks to sports educational campus acquisition and expansion. In 2016, Saum was busy on a number of residential development projects for clients such as Radmore Homes, and in one example of work he advised Plant Developments on four site acquisitions for residential development. Handelsbanken is a key client on the secured lending side.

At Brethertons LLP, the ‘approachableMary Anderson has particular expertise in secured lending in the health sector, where she advises lenders and borrowers on investment and development transactions; in one highlight, Anderson acted for Sussex Health (Rapkyns) and Sussex Health Care (Clemsfold) on the refinancing of loans over all of their trading assets. Anderson was also busy on various high-value option agreements and promotion agreements and represented a consortium of landowners in connection with a £6m promotion agreement relating to 12 acres of land in a significant site adjacent to Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal. The practice also noted an uptick in leasehold work in the retail sector. Active clients include Hammonds Furniture and Helix Autosport.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys’s practice is probably best known for its work in the healthcare space, where clients include Voyage Care and Prima Dental. Other important sectors are education as well as energy and leisure, and the team regularly acts in the acquisition and disposal of pubs and restaurants. Key contacts include Worcester-based Philip Parkinson, who has niche expertise in the quarrying and mineral sector, and Hereford-based Matthew Hayes, who acts for a number of clients with significant property portfolios, as well as large agricultural clients with multiple and mixed-use farming enterprises. In the energy space, Ross on Wye-based Harriet Murray-Jones regularly handles the property side of renewable energy projects. The practice is also noted for its secured lender expertise, where clients include HSBC and Lloyds Bank. Cheltenham-based Mark Fabian heads the team.

At Freeths LLP, consultant Derek Morris and senior associate Ian Wilson are ‘very experienced in their field and deliver an excellent service’. The team’s expertise takes in a number of areas, including acquisitions and disposals on behalf of industrial, retail, leisure and educational clients; development work and negotiation of land agreements for site development; finance and security instructions on behalf of primary lenders, secondary lenders and pension schemes; and relocation work for blue-chip corporates. In 2016, the team handled a range of mandates, including acquisition work in the third sector, and advising on the property aspects of corporate transactions. Ensarb, Sanctuary Housing Association and NatWest are all active clients of the practice.

Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Limited is probably best known for acting for major lenders in the secured lending space, where it ‘progresses cases efficiently, quickly and with little fuss’. Recent deals involve property in sectors such as hotel and leisure, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and manufacturing. The team also represents SME clients, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals on developments, large-scale acquisitions, commercial leases, overage deeds, option agreements and all aspects of corporate support. Names to note include assistant solicitor Natasha Bhardwaj, who ‘resolves issues in a timely and pragmatic way’, and head of practice Colin Rodrigues, who is ‘very practical and communicates extremely well’.

In 2016, Martin Kaye’s practice enjoyed a growth in activity in respect of previously unoccupied buildings, as well as new builds, and the team also reported an increase in instructions from SMEs. Highlights included advising an Ireland-based developer on the £30m disposal of its UK sites, and representing a major investor in the sale of a portfolio of nursing homes. The team was also highly active in the hospitality sector, where it acted in the sale of a prominent heritage hotel within the World Heritage Unesco site in Ironbridge, and also advised on a hotel acquisition in Oxford. Assistant solicitor Jagdeep Kandola leads the team.

At Pickerings Solicitors LLP, practice head Sue Albini and solicitor Kate Pearce are ‘both very personable lawyers, who can explain complex issues easily and work tirelessly to get the job done’. Albini was busy on a number of residential development mandates, including the £2.5m purchase of a brownfield site for residential development of 100-plus houses, and the sale of a development site in tranches, following exercise of a previously negotiated option agreement for 300 houses. In other highlights, Albini assisted with the agreement for lease of a large retail unit of 70,000 sq ft, with a rental of £1m per annum, while Pearce acted on the £1.7m purchase of agricultural land that was subject to a mines and minerals overage agreement.

Thursfields Solicitors’ ‘thorough and professional’ team saw some expansion in 2016 with the hires of Mike Brien from Millichips and senior associate John McLean from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. McLean has ‘excellent in-depth knowledge’ in sectors such as telecoms and energy, and advised borrowers on several financings. Other names to note are managing director Nick O’Hara and practice head Tony Gibb, with the latter advising an international bank on a major lending facility secured over seven freehold titles. Aside from finance work, the team was also busy on a range of option agreements, site acquisitions and developments. Active clients include Walker Sheppard Homes, Royal Bank of Scotland and Berry Recycling.


Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Construction clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Gowling WLG’s substantial practice is led by Richard Green and Michael O’Shea, who focus on non-contentious and contentious work respectively. On the non-contentious side, the team acts for an impressive mix of developers, contractors and institutional purchasers across sectors such as commercial development, energy, retail and leisure, infrastructure, nuclear, and hotels. Recent work examples include Green and legal director Mark Stephenson advising Mountpark Logistics on the construction of a fulfilment centre for Amazon at Bardon in Leicestershire, and the same pairing acting for St Modwen Developments in the construction aspects of a £100m town centre development on the former car assembly plant at Longbridge, Birmingham. The experienced contentious team includes the well-regarded Ashley Pigott and Sue Ryan, as well as Daniel Wood, who specialises in disputes connected with energy, petrochemical, process plant and civil engineering schemes; both Pigott and Ryan were engaged on major PFI disputes relating to the construction of highways. O’Shea is handling a number of multimillion-pound claims for Muse Developments relating to remedial works carried out at a large residential development site in Manchester.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s non-contentious offering has a ‘number of senior personnel, all of whom provide an excellent, comprehensive and value-for-money service’. Head of practice Peter Scurlock focuses on the energy (including nuclear new build and renewable energy technologies) and commercial development sectors, and continued to advise NNB GenCo on the Nuclear New Build Project at Hinkley Point C. In another example of work, Scurlock represented Nikal in the procurement relating to 603 apartments across three buildings at Exchange Square. Former chartered civil engineer David Jones specialises in the utilities sector, where he acts for the likes of National Grid Gas and Electricity; Jones is advising Severn Trent Water on the construction contracts for the clean water part of the Birmingham Resilience Project. The team’s expertise also extends to major infrastructure projects and Jones is acting for Network Rail Infrastructure in the London Bridge Station development. The contentious wing of the practice was diminished by the retirement of Amrik Kandola, however senior associate Michael Shires, who is ‘technically capable and commercial’, was active on a substantial adjudication.

Gateley Plc’s practice is probably best known for its expertise in the housebuilding sector, where litigator Peter Davies has ‘exceptional sector expertise, particularly relating to construction professional negligence claims’. Davies’ caseload included advising Opal (Earlsfield) on a professional negligence claim against Wardell Armstrong following the discovery of asbestos at the site, and representing CALA in defending two adjudications brought by RM Contractors, and then challenging the adjudicator's decisions at the High Court. On the non-contentious side, David Lloyd Jones handles a wide ranging portfolio of work that takes in real estate, energy and infrastructure projects; Lloyd Jones’ recent highlights include acting for Jaguar Land Rover on the £165m redevelopment of its Gaydon site, and assisting Laing O'Rourke Infrastructure and VolkerRail on the negotiation of a deed of variation to construct a new 6.5km metro line to the Trafford Centre. Another name to note is senior associate Amira Khan, who handles both contentious and non-contentious mandates and is advising Barberry Developments on procurement issues relating to its plan to develop a 1,116-room student accommodation and shopping complex at a city centre site at Bishop Gate, Coventry.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s non-contentious practice continued to be busy on a number of significant London-based development projects and higher education projects, including ‘solution-focused’ practice head Stuart Pemble acting for Cheval Group on the redevelopment of 55-91 Knightsbridge, London. In another important piece of work, Pemble represented Cranfield University in the drafting and negotiation of all documents for seven separate projects on Cranfield’s campus. The team also enjoyed a number of mandates in the media space, advising clients such as the National Film and Television School and Battersea Arts Centre on redevelopment and rebuilding work. Martino Giaquinto leads on disputes and is a ‘hugely savvy litigator with bags of experience, who achieves speedy, favourable resolutions for clients’. Giaquinto specialises in offshore energy, power generation and infrastructure, but also handles domestic disputes arising from infrastructure and real estate. Associate Patrick Wisheu is recommended for his contentious work in the energy sector.

Shoosmiths LLP’s team ‘handles sizeable litigation for a number of large and well-respected contractors, developers and institutions both domestically and, increasingly, internationally’. Key players include Simon Wain, who has ‘great tactical nous and good experience of project finance, bonds and construction insurance issues’, Stephen Belshaw, who is a ‘good choice for high-level litigation and adjudication work and also an expert in construction in the education sector’, and senior associate Paul Scott, who is ‘very good under the pressure of adjudication’. On the non-contentious side, practice head Patrick Garner continued to handle various real estate mandates, including advising McKay Securities on the design and construction of a 12-storey office building in the City of London, and acting for St Modwen Properties on the construction aspects of the development agreement and the construction documents for the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Longbridge. The practice was enhanced by a number of hires, including Ian Yule’s team from Weightmans LLP; Yule focuses on dispute resolution arising from civil engineering work.

Squire Patton Boggs fields a ‘strong and reliable team that always reacts quickly even at very short notice’. The practice has a strong profile in the international EPC sector, and the team continued to act for Sumitomo and J Power Systems on the third power interconnector between the UK and Europe. In another example of international work, practice head Graeme Bradley, who is ‘very experienced and good with people’, represented Al Shamsh in relation to a dispute concerning the construction of Balad Airbase in Iraq. Closer to home, Robert Norris and newly promoted partner Ray O’Connor are advising Blackpool Borough Council in a series of adjudications and High Court proceedings arising from the construction of the light rail system at Blackpool; and the same team is also assisting the National Exhibition Centre with its internal development works of Genting’s Resort World complex at the NEC. Senior associate Alex Johnson is ‘knowledgeable and competent’. All members of the team handle a mix of contentious and non-contentious work.

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP’s impressive public and third sector client base ensures that the team excels in areas such as NEC contracts and also procuring high-value, long-term maintenance contracts. Recent examples of work include Andrew Millross assisting Clarion Housing Group with its procurement contracts following Affinity Sutton’s merger with Circle, and Richard Brooks advising Sports and Leisure Management on its bid for a new leisure centre. In the contentious space, the team is ‘always looking for the right way out of any dispute, very keen on mediation, but reliable and careful if the case has to fight’. Litigation head Andrew Lancaster, who ‘understands the values and priorities of the public sector and knows how to get the right deal’, and associate Emma Riley, who has ‘meticulous case preparation’, were involved in a number of employer-side adjudications.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys acts for a wide range of clients, including local authorities, main contractors, subcontractors, banking and education clients, and the team has also been increasingly busy in the renewables and energy-to-waste arena, where it represented a county council in a dispute over a waste facility. Practice head Andrew James, who ‘understands the brief and organises efficient data capture by which to deal with the matter in hand’, is advising University of Gloucestershire on a £35m multi-phase redevelopment project of a university campus. In another example of work, James is representing Inex Group in a major dispute to do with an MOD residential development site in Staffordshire. The practice’s existing in-house quantity surveying expertise was further enhanced by the hire of former quantity surveyor Keith Blizzard from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. Blizzard also serves as an arbitrator, adjudicator, mediator and expert witness.

At Pinsent Masons LLP, the ‘reliable and very knowledgeableNigel Blundell specialises in rail and education projects, and regularly advises contractors on non-contentious issues arising from Network Rail projects, as well as assisting with the construction aspects of significant funded accommodation schemes. Key clients include Morgan Sindall, Galliford Try and VolkerRail.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP’s strong public sector development practice is increasingly complemented by private sector clients such Seven Capital, for whom Vijay Bange acted on the procurement and appointment of the main contractor and professional team for the development of Birmingham's first private rented sector scheme. In other non-contentious mandates, Paul Mountain advised Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society on the procurement arrangements for a major redevelopment and extension of the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, and managing associate Mark Robinson, who provides a ‘very high level of service’, assisted Tamworth Borough Council with options for re-tendering of repairs and maintenance and gas servicing contracts relating to the whole of the council's retained housing stock. Bange leads on contentious work and was busy in areas such as adjudication enforcement and payment provisions not complying with the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act.

Wright Hassall LLP’s team is led by Philip Harris, who has a strong reputation for contentious work and serves as an arbitrator, adjudicator and mediator; Harris’ recent caseload includes a number of energy-related disputes, including acting for Stobart Rail Infrastructure Engineering in a dispute over a new waste to energy plant in Widnes, and representing Kijlstra in a dispute over the sea jetty for Hinckley Point Power Station. On the non-contentious side, Michael Hiscock has significant experience in areas such as waste-to-energy plants, factory automation, and PFI-derivative subcontracts for hospitals and wider urban regeneration. Hiscock is advising LSP Developments on construction documentation arising from the urban regeneration of the West Gorton area of Manchester. The practice developed its infrastructure expertise with the hire of Nichola Vine from Centro.

At Beswicks Legal, Karen Elder is an accredited mediator, who handles contentious and non-contentious work primarily for employers in sectors such as care, automotive, football and commercial letting. In 2016, she was particularly busy in the non-contentious space, advising on the drafting and negotiation of agreements across the full JCT suite.

Browne Jacobson LLP launched its practice in Birmingham with the hire of public sector specialist Martin Cannon, who joined from DAC Beachcroft LLP. Cannon, who is a qualified adjudicator, continued to be busy on various PFI disputes and defect claims for clients such as Midland Heart and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust. The practice has both contentious and non-contentious capabilities.

Level of service and industry knowledge is excellent’ at Else Solicitors LLP, where practice head Andrew Hickman demonstrates a ‘proper understanding of insolvency issues’ arising in the construction industry. Hickman’s recent caseload includes successfully pursuing a substantial final account adjudication for a window and cladding subcontractor, and drafting documentation for a developer building a national training centre in the Midlands for a national distributor. The practice is particularly noteworthy for its subcontractor following.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s ‘wide knowledge of sectors and issues’ makes it a favourite for clients such as Calthorpe Estates and Brackley Property Developments. The team is led by non-contentious specialist Ruth Phillips, who wins praise for her ‘insightful and pragmatic advice’; Phillips has been advising a number of banks, including Lloyds Bank and Al Rayan Bank, on the construction aspects of various funded development projects. Legal director Rachael Hobbis handles both contentious building and civil engineering disputes and is commended for her ‘very thorough presentation style’. Keith Blizzard left for Harrison Clark Rickerbys.


Index of tables

  1. Environment
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Environment clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Gowling WLG’s practice is led by Lee McBride, who deals with contaminated land, environmental permitting and other regulatory issues arising in commercial property transactions, major projects and large corporate transactions. On the contentious side, Andrew Litchfield advises on investigations and defending criminal proceedings brought by the Environment Agency (EA) and by local authorities, and bringing and defending civil claims for damages for environmental incidents. Recent examples of the team’s work include acting for a buyer of a 130-hectare former MOD site, including reviewing contaminated land assessments and negotiating reliance letters, and defending a prosecution relating to a potential breach of a trade effluent consent. Director Samantha Holland specialises in bespoke high-value environmental insurance policies.

Squire Patton Boggs’ team has a ‘high degree of technical ability, is commercial and is good to deal with’, and assists clients from a wide range of industry sectors, including chemicals, property development, energy, manufacturing and automotive. Key players include ‘excellent all-rounderDavid Gordon, who specialises in contaminated land,

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and environmental permitting, and director Anita Lloyd, who focuses on sustainability and climate change. Lloyd recently advised American Greetings on a range of producer responsibility matters, including Packaging Waste Regulations, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances

(RoHS) regulations, and Toys Safety Regulations. Another name to note is senior associate

Caroline Almond, who advised an international purchaser on the environmental aspects associated with the acquisition of a leading flexible packaging business with sites across the UK and Ireland. The practice is led from Manchester by contentious specialist Robert Elvin. INEOS, Olin and Linden Homes are clients.

Shoosmiths LLP developed its offering with the hire of regulatory specialist

Roy Tozer from DLA Piper UK LLP, and the promotion of Hayley Saunders to the partnership. The team defends clients on a range of investigations and prosecutions by environmental regulators such as the EA in a number of different sectors, including retail, construction and manufacturing. On the non-contentious side, Saunders recently assisted London-based Angus Evers in advising Clarcor and its Italian subsidiary on compliance with the EU REACH regulation in response to requests for information received from customers about the chemical composition of its products.

At Zyda Law, name partner Paul Zyda’s experience includes securing environmental permits for energy projects in the nuclear, gas and waste sectors, as well as dealing with regulators such as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the EA and the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). Recent highlights include advising Dounreay Site Restoration on the environmental aspects of the decommissioning of the Dounreay power station, and obtaining hazardous substances consents for EDF Energy’s fleet of nuclear power stations. Ian Graves left for Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

At Ansons, regulatory specialist David Anderton assisted a number of clients with EA interviews under caution following alleged waste offences, and is also defending Parry and Evans in the Crown Court in a case brought by Natural Resources Wales relating to a shipment of waste to China.


Index of tables

  1. Planning
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Planning clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


DLA Piper UK LLP’s team is led by ‘exceptional planning solicitorTrevor Ivory, who has expertise in large-scale development and infrastructure projects. Ivory’s strengths include ‘an excellent knowledge of compulsory purchase issues’, and he is advising Chester West and Chester Borough Council on the promotion of a compulsory purchase order to acquire the remainder of a site that forms part of the Chester Northgate regeneration scheme. Ivory is also highly experienced in handling planning appeals, and in one example is acting for West Midlands Metropolitan Authorities Pension Fund in connection with an appeal against the refusal of planning permission for a 1,000-home sustainable urban extension in Redcar and Cleveland. In another highlight, the team is advising Connolly Homes on planning for a residential development to the east of Milton Keynes for 350 new homes. Senior associate Amy Truman is ‘superb and thorough’ and has a particular focus on complex urban extensions, while associate Jim McAvan, who is also recommended, has been assisting London-based Howard Bassford with various transport-related infrastructure mandates.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s ‘outcome-focused’ team continued to be busy on a range of energy, infrastructure and residential projects. Practice head Paul Maile, who is highly recommended for ‘s106 and legal strategy advice’, successfully represented Wainhomes (North West) in relation to an s106 planning agreement with Rochdale Borough Council for 88 dwellings at land west of Hollins Lane; and in another significant residential mandate, Maile was instructed by Cherwell District Council to draft the s106 agreements required to facilitate the release of planning permission for up to 6,000 units at the North West Bicester Eco-Town in Oxfordshire. The team’s varied caseload also took in advising Severn Trent Water on compulsory purchase orders following plans to carry out repair works and maintenance to the Elan Valley Aqueduct, and acting for new client ENI UK in securing protective provisions in the development consent order (DCO) for the proposed East Anglia Three Offshore Wind Farm.

Gowling WLG provides a ‘proactive and reliable service’ to private and public sector clients such as St Modwen and Rugby Borough Council. Head of practice Andrew Thomas, who is a ‘great strategist’, is advising Goodman on the proposed DCO for the strategic rail freight interchange at Etwall near Derby; and in another highlight, the same lawyer acted for Greater London Authority in the first use of its compulsory purchase powers to acquire land to enable the regeneration of the Southall Gasworks site. In the development space, the team is instructed by North Whitely Consortium in connection with a planning application for 3,500 houses in North Whiteley, Hampshire. Below partner level, other names to note are ‘great organiser’ Graham Wrigglesworth, who assisted Thomas with the DCO for Palm Paper’s gas-fired power station at its industrial complex, and the ‘conscientious and personableToni Weston, who has considerable experience in compulsory purchase and compensation matters.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘very thorough approach pays for itself by avoiding significant omissions or mistakes down the line’. Practice head Rebecca Warren leads the firm’s national development offering and has particular expertise in major residential and mixed-use developments. Her recent work includes acting for Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council as joint landowners of Manydown, West Basingstoke on the planning for 10,000 homes, and advising Countryside Properties (Bicester) on the strategic release of a site at South West Bicester. On the infrastructure side, senior associate Heidi Slater is assisting London-based Robbie Owen in advising TfL on its £1bn highway project for a new dual carriageway road tunnel under the River Thames, next to the Blackwall Tunnel. The team is also adept at handling contentious work, and Warren successfully acted for Gallagher and other joint landowners of the Gavray Drive site at Bicester in relation to an s113 statutory challenge of the Cherwell Local Plan.

According to one client, because FBC Manby Bowdler LLPacts for local authorities as well as developers and landowners, there is a depth of understanding and an independence of thought that gives the best chance of achieving a desired outcome’. The practice handles a full range of development matters, including development proposals and advising on the strategy for promotion of land, as well as planning enforcement measures and judicial review. One particular area of expertise is agricultural proposals, where the team advises on the technical problems of Class Q barn conversions, farm diversification and farm redevelopment work. Key players include senior partner Niall Blackie, who ‘has long experience of providing thoughtful and focused advice’, and is commended for his advocacy both in relation to planning appeals as well as public inquiries; and ‘careful but pragmatic’ associate Suzanne Tucker, who wins praise for her ability to negotiate s106 agreements. Blackie provided successful representation in an appeal allowing planning for an isolated home in open countryside.

Gateley Plc’s ‘extremely professional, efficient and reliant team’ continued to be busy on planning matters for housebuilders such as BDW Trading, Bloor Homes and Taylor Wimpey. In one example of work, senior associate Matthew Scudamore is acting for Keepmoat Homes on an s106 agreement for a brownfield site in Leeds. Besides handling Town and Country Planning Act agreements, Scudamore also has expertise in advising on town and village green matters, rights of way, highways and compulsory purchase matters, and he successfully acted for Richborough Estates in defending a multiple rights of way claim from local residents affecting a proposed development site. The practice was afforded further depth by the hire of assistant solicitor Melissa Huree from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. Manchester-based Andrew Piatt leads the team.

Knights Professional Services Limited lead on planning projects for national developers, the financial services sector, public sector organisations and providers of sport and recreation facilities. Andrea Bruce has particular expertise in mineral developments, including dealing with mineral estates matters such as advice on mineral ownership and removal of electricity apparatus, while Rob Pattinson is an experienced advocate and has been involved in numerous planning challenges in the High Court. The team includes a number of chartered town planners, including Carl Copestake, who handles planning applications across sectors such housing, retail, commercial and leisure, and also regularly serves as an expert witness at public inquiries and hearings, and Ben Weatherley.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s ‘fast-growing’ team acts for landowners and developers and local planning authorities on a full range of work including s106 and other planning and highway agreements, infrastructure projects and judicial reviews and challenges. ‘Hugely experienced’ national head of planning Simon Stanion advised the ExtraCare Charitable Trust on the s106 agreement relating to a 261-unit retirement village on land adjacent to Haslucks Green Road, Shirley. Leicester-based real estate head John Edmond leads on DCO work. The team was considerably developed below partner level, with the hires of Leenamari Aantaa-Collier and Louise Portman from The Wilkes Partnership, and energy specialist Ian Graves from Zyda Law; according to one source, Portman is ‘as bright as they come’. Clients of the practice include Barratt Homes, Blaby District Council and the National Grid.

Shoosmiths LLP is ‘very good at getting key legal documents completed within tight timescales’, and the team continued to handle a good mix of public and private sector work: recent examples include representing Tendring District Council on a series of planning appeals before the Secretary of State relating to the St Osyth Priory Site in Essex, and advising IM Properties on its s78 appeal to secure around 750 houses on a site in Lichfield. While the practice is particularly noted for its planning litigation work (both in terms of judicial review, statutory challenges and planning enforcement matters), it also handles a volume of non-contentious mandates and is providing strategic planning advice to Maximus Strategic Stafford in relation to bringing forward an urban extension on the outskirts of Stafford. The practice is led by Tim Willis, who ‘combines a supreme legal brain with a razor sharp wit’ and includes senior associate Anna Cartledge, who regularly advises on compulsory purchase orders and in relation to HS2.

Wright Hassall LLP’s ‘proactive and committed team’ has ‘particular expertise in tricky enforcement matters raising difficult legal or factual issues’. Solicitor Pritpal Singh Swarn, who leads the team, is ‘exceptionally personable and very experienced’, and is advising Worcestershire County Council on a number of mandates, including the impact and mitigation by planning agreement of development on land at the back of a hospital site. In other examples of work, Singh-Swarn assisted AC Lloyd with a stopping-up order, utilising Highway Powers to overcome health and safety and security issues, and also advised Wycombe District Council on the use of compulsory purchase orders for housing regeneration. Besides an active public sector following, the team also has considerable experience advising housing associations such as Orbit Group and Two Rivers Housing Association. Solicitor Ben Arrowsmith left for an in-house position at Cherwell District Council.

Zyda Law’s ‘excellent’ practice is well known in the market for advising on planning for major energy projects. Recent highlights include advising EDF Energy on bespoke building regulation applications for Dungeness B and Torness, and assisting Dounreay Site Restoration with its application for DPF2 planning permission for phase three of the decommissioning programme (relating to retrieval of high-level radioactive waste stored on site) for the Dounreay nuclear reactor. Name partner Paul Zyda is the main contact.

Ian Graves joined Shakespeare Martineau LLP.

At Ansons, consultant David Anderton regularly appears as an advocate in planning hearings, and is representing Lichfield District Council in its application for a planning enforcement order based on concealment in the erection and occupation of a dwelling. In another example of work, Anderton acted for an appellant in a written representation’s appeal against an Enforcement Notice issued by Wolverhampton City Council alleging the raising of land to form a patio within a domestic curtilage. The team also handles non-contentious work and recently acted for developers in relation to a number of s106 agreements for the development of large residential housing sites.

Beswicks Legal’s practice is led by Iain Johnston, who continued to be highly active advising landowners and businesses on compulsory purchase issues arising from the High Speed Rail scheme. Johnston’s work also takes in planning applications, planning appeals and call-ins, High Court challenges and judicial review, and drafting and negotiation of s106 agreements and other infrastructure agreements.

At Harrison Clark Rickerbys, senior associate Rosalind Andrews has ‘superb knowledge in the ever-evolving planning field and is able to condense complex arguments and synthesise legal judgments for the lay person’. Andrews has particular expertise in residential developments and remained active in this sphere in 2016, successfully defending Crown House Developments in an s288 challenge brought by Wychavon District Council to the grant of planning permission by the Planning Inspectorate. The team’s varied caseload also took in judicial review, village green inquiries, planning enforcement hearings, and s106 agreements. Key clients include Malvern Hills District Council, Lloyds Bank and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire.

At Lanyon Bowdler, David Brammer provides ‘concise and prompt advice’ to a range of developers, landowners and educational institutions, and in 2016 he was busy on a variety of contentious instructions: as well as representing a Warwickshire farmer in a judicial review of a decision to grant residential development for a barn adjacent to the claimant’s farm, he also assisted a local haulage and transport business with a planning enforcement appeal and public inquiry relating to a brownfield site. On the non-contentious side, Brammer is advising a private family trust developing housing on former agricultural land in Herefordshire, including associated planning advice and an s106 agreement.

Property litigation

Index of tables

  1. Property litigation
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Property litigation clients in West Midlands using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is ‘technically capable with good sector knowledge’ and handles a full range of High Court cases, arbitrations and expert determinations for clients such as Brent Cross (Hammerson and Standard Life) and United Utilities Water. Lisa Barge, who wins praise for her ‘commercial awareness, subject knowledge and excellent client care’, is acting on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrators for BUK Realisations in relation to the forfeiture of five leases; Barge is also assisting principal associate Arren Thornton with the Water Central Rating List appeal of United Utilities entire clean water network. Another name to note is David Feist, who advises extensively on retail property asset management, and is acting for Birmingham City Council on over 50 claims for possession in relation to the development of a new wholesale market site. Feist also has a strong energy sector focus and is acting for National Grid Electricity Transmission in securing access to a golf course in order to undertake works as part of a large-scale line refurbishment. National head of real estate litigation Paul Moorcroft leads the team and specialises in disputes which arise primarily from either commercial or residential property development, or from the landlord and tenant relationship. Both Barge and Feist are solicitor-advocates.

Gowling WLG’s wide-ranging client base takes in housebuilders, developers, major telecoms operators, housing associations, retailers and public bodies. Paul Kent focuses on residential development issues and is defending Persimmon Homes against an injunction brought by Wychavon District Council to halt development at Droitwich Spa. Kent is also acting for TfL against Southwark and the City of London in an appeal concerning the vertical and horizontal extent of the interests in the roads which were transferred to TfL on its establishment in 2000. Solicitor advocate Martin Thomas heads the team and splits his time between Birmingham and London; Thomas’ specialisms include land agreements, landlord and tenant (especially development and insolvency related disputes), business rates and telecoms; in one example of work, he is advising new client Muse/ISIS Waterside on the strategy for the handling of potential claims from third parties arising from serious defects in the construction of residential apartment blocks. In the commercial property space, Carole Peet, who leads the Birmingham offering, is acting for Midcounties Co-operative in proceedings to recover possession of a vacant garage and car showroom on the Iffley Road, Oxford from squatters.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s team ‘deals with large commercial and development-based work, and is also able to provide related niche advice in right to light and vacant possession areas’. The practice is led by Alicia Foo, who wins praise for her ‘energetic and forceful approach to litigation, which she combines with a strong tactical nous’. Foo covers an impressive range of sectors and, as well as being active in the telecoms property sector for clients such as Arqiva, was also busy in the waste sphere, defending Veolia in arbitration relating to a waste lease. The team wins further plaudits for its work in the retail space, where one client notes it has ‘real understanding of the competitive environment retailers work in’. Other names to note are ‘enormously experienced’ senior associate Craig Downhill, who was busy on energy-related property work, including advising E.ON on the removal of live cabling installed by a well-known cable network operator; associate Sarah Campey (described as ‘tactical’) who handled a number of matters for public sector clients, including possession claims; and solicitor Ian Morgan, who is ‘careful in marshalling information and a devastating letter writer’.

Shoosmiths LLP is probably best known for its strength in the retail sector, where clients include Boots, Thomas Cook and Poundland. The team is led by national head of property litigation Nicholas Shepherd, who is a ‘good leader and delegator’. Shepherd specialises in handling dilapidations claims, disputed rent reviews and Land Registry rectification claims and the adjudication of other land registration issues, and in one recent matter has been advising Tingdene Parks on an application for adverse possession and/or rectification against the council in respect of a strip of land between Tingdene’s caravan park and the foreshore. Paul Knight leads the Birmingham team and, together with Kate McCall, who is noted for her expertise in the property insolvency arena, is acting for BDO (in its capacity as administrators and LPA receivers) in its pursuit of various injunctions against the former directors of an insolvent company to obtain possession of eight high-end properties in Kensington, Mayfair and Chelsea. In another example of work, Knight helped Central Midlands Estates and Central England Co-operative secure possession of two major redevelopment sites for their food business.

According to one client, Anthony Collins Solicitors LLPstands head and shoulders above most firms in the social housing sector’ and the firm is ‘among the most impressive for its expertise concerning all landlord-related litigation’. Helen Tucker, whose ‘robust approach to litigation gives her real gravitas in the sector’, advised on various possession claims for clients such as Bromford Housing Group and Fortis Living, while the ‘approachable’ Baljit Basra is representing a housing group in a claim for damages following alleged breaches of contractual repairing obligations. Hilary Harrison leads on commercial property work and is acting for Birmingham City Council on lease renewal proceedings relating to the redevelopment of the indoor market area at Birmingham city centre. Housing management specialists Jonathan Cox and senior associate Emma Hardman handle leasehold litigation in the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), and boosted their team with a number of junior hires.

Browne Jacobson LLP is ‘able to provide a tailor-made service to deal with all kinds of cases’. Names to note include Tim Rayner, who specialises in dilapidations and contested lease renewals, and Pamela Shepherd, who ‘keeps a cool head and can handle complex and hostile litigation with ease’. Shepherd focuses on landlord and tenant work, but also deals with overage claims and adverse possession claims acting for large developers. The practice’s varied client base takes in Walgreens Boots Alliance, London & Cambridge Properties and the Homes and Communities Agency. Nottingham-based Mark Aldrich leads the team.

Gateley Plc’s ‘very strong practice undertakes property litigation for a number of the major national and regional housebuilders and land developers’. Peter Davies, who is ‘an absolutely top-class litigator, who combines a wealth of technical knowledge and experience in the field with giving commercially realistic advice’, continued to serve a stable of housebuilders on disputes ranging from breaches of land agreements to professional negligence claims. Iain Davies, who heads the team with Peter Davies, specialises in commercial landlord and tenant disputes; Iain Davies’ caseload included representing Bakkavor Foods as under-tenant in an application for relief against forfeiture, following the insolvency of the head tenant, and advising MP Newlands on a lease renewal dispute with Cable and Wireless UK. Another name to note is senior associate Philip Scully, who is ‘very reliable and developing a strong reputation in the field’; Scully advised on its dilapidations liability in respect of a hangar demised to it.

Areas of expertise at Shakespeare Martineau LLP include dilapidation disputes, telecoms litigation, rent review arbitration, development agreement disputes and commercial lease disputes. The team is led by the well-regarded Martin Edwards, who has a strong education sector following and was also busy in the telecoms space, pursuing several repossession claims against various telecom operators. Other key players are Mark English, who handles contentious property management issues for major energy companies, and newly promoted associate partner James Fownes, whose client base takes in universities and housebuilders.

DWF’s practice is led by Michael Green, who has particular expertise in advising investor landlords and corporate occupiers in lease termination situations; recent examples include acting for Savills regarding the early termination of its lease of city centre offices in Nottingham, and advising Clearbell Capital on a forfeiture action against a tenant, based on breach of the alienation provisions in the lease. Another area of strength is development work, where the team advises clients such as Queensbury Real Estate on site clearance. Green also has experience in advising on professional negligence claims and is representing a property investor and developer in a claim arising from advice provided in respect of an agreement for lease. Senior associate Nerissa Hatcher handles property instructions for key portfolio client Westminster City Council.

According to one client, George Green LLPprovidess a first-rate service and would give any big city firm a run for its money’. The team continued to be busy on behalf of a range of retailers, property developers and landowners, and in one example of work defended Scrivens in a notice-to-vacate and dilapidation claim. Other significant matters in 2016 included eviction of travellers and adverse possession proceedings, and the team is also well known in the professional negligence space, where it acts for key client West Bromwich Building Society on claims against surveyors. In Wolverhampton, key players include department head James Coles, who is an ‘excellent strategic thinker with an adaptable mind’, and Susan Ford; in Cradley Heath, Neil Williams, Morgan Rees and James Field are the names to note.

Higgs & Sons’ ‘growing presence in the market’ reflects the fact that the team ‘has a strong practice acting for private individuals in dealing with neighbour disputes, boundary issues and possession claims, as well as very considerable expertise working with commercial property clients’. Retail specialist Paul Barker is ‘excellent for legal and commercial advice’, and has been active on a variety of mandates, including conditional break notice and lease renewal matters, as well as advising developer clients on site clearance and development/sale contract disputes. In one highlight, Barker is acting for TH Baker in resisting the attempted termination of its tenancy at retail premises in Stratford upon Avon. The ‘tenacious and straight-talking’ Nyree Applegarth also has a strong reputation, particularly for boundary disputes and party wall matters, and has been busy advising clients such as AF Blakemore and London and Cambridge Properties on contentious issues arising from lease renewals.

Squire Patton Boggs’ practice is now led from London by Alison Hardy, following the departures of Andrew Walker and Ben Walters to Harrison Clark Rickerbys and Wright Hassall LLP respectively. The team is probably best known in the retail space, where it handles the contentious aspects of property portfolio management for clients such as Cancer Research UK, Signet Group and The Royal British Legion. Senior associate Michelle Adams, who rejoined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, focuses on landlord and tenants disputes and has a specialism in telecoms property work; Adams assisted Hardy with advice to Amaris Hospitality following defaults in rental payments by a commercial tenant at a retail unit in Farnham.

Wright Hassall LLP’s team ‘always provides a swift and knowledgeable response and gives expert advice and service at a fraction of London rates’. Practice head Dawn Reynolds specialises in landlord and tenant disputes and property management issues, and also has extensive experience in assisting clients in complex beneficial interest claims relating to property. In one example of work, Reynolds successfully acted for Central Waste Oil Collections in recovering possession of a property from a business tenant. On the residential side, Mary Rouse is ‘firm, tenacious and considered’; besides specialising in housing management issues for social landlords, Rouse also handles possession claims for Coventry Building Society. ‘Knowledgeable’ associate Leonie Salter is experienced in resolving disputes regarding the succession of Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies. Ben Walters moved to Sherrards Solicitors LLP.

At Emms Gilmore Liberson, the ‘service is highly professional, with excellent response times’, and the practice’s varied client base takes in government departments, national utilities, blue-chip companies, and landed estates. Name partner Martyn Liberson has ‘a wealth of experience’ and is particularly strong in dilapidation claims; in 2016, his case load included acting for Telereal Trillium against a tenant in a significant rent recovery action. Other names to note are director Richard Cooper, who has a ‘hands-on, practical approach, with good people skills’, and regularly handles professional negligence claims arising from property transactions; and associate Anna Albini, who is ‘really proactive with all of the complexities surrounding wholesale exits from large leasehold buildings, whether they be breaks or natural expiries’. The team has expertise in disputes arising from a full range of real estate products, including development and investment sites, commercial estates, offices, warehousing, retail and residential.

Lodders Solicitors LLP’s team is led by Jane Senior, whose contentious expertise takes in litigation, arbitration, Land Registry hearings and mediations. Senior continued to be highly active on behalf of clients such as Spitfire Properties and IM Properties in a range of matters, including tenant insolvency, dilapidations and boundary disputes. Consultant Michael Orlik specialises in the law of highways and rights of way, and he and Senior successfully acted in the Court of Appeal for Sustainable Totnes Action Group in a legal challenge against a Road Traffic Regulation Order implemented by Devon County Council. Other names to note are Michael Wakeling and associate Amrit Samra, with the latter specialising in landlord and tenant disputes. Samra’s recent caseload included securing an order for possession for The King Henry VIII Endowed Trust to evict travellers from its site at Buntsford Park Road in Bromsgrove.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team is probably best known for its expertise in the healthcare and education sectors, where it advises clients such as NHS England and Coventry University. Principal associate Christopher Bartley and senior associate Henry Mahalski ‘both provide sound advice and communicate this in a very clear and straightforward way, whether dealing with residential clients or large commercial developers’. In 2016, highlights included helping NHS Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group to secure clinical services in the Dudley area following forfeiture of a GP surgery lease by a landlord, and assisting an education sector client with the release of right to light to allow a third-party developer to develop adjacent land, including mutual release facilitating future development of the land. The practice is led from Norwich by Richard Hanson.

The Wilkes Partnership acts for a broad range of clients, including homeowners, developers and owner-managed businesses. Areas of expertise include disputes relating to ownership or rights over land (both of a commercial and residential nature), contractual disputes relating to land, landlord and tenant disputes, and professional negligence claims, primarily against solicitors in relation to property transactions or against surveyors regarding surveys and valuations. Key contacts are managing partner Mark Abrol, Carl Csukas and senior associate Victoria Khandker.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP developed its offering with the hire of David Marsden from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, who now heads the practice. Besides handling a number of significant cases in the Court of Appeal and the High Court, Marsden also represented a claimant in a breach of contract and misrepresentation claim concerning the sale of Walton Castle in Clevedon; and in another example of work, Marsden assisted two claimants seeking a declaration of rights over land adjacent to a field they owned. The team’s work takes in portfolio management, right-to-light issues, development-related advice, and disputes work for housebuilders, registered providers and commercial property developers.

Beswicks Legal is a ‘go-to firm for property litigation’, and the team handles contentious commercial and residential landlord and tenant matters, including lease renewal, lease termination, and dilapidation claims. Head of practice Stephen Taylor and newly promoted partner Gareth Wilkinson are particularly strong on cohabitation claims arising from the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. In one high-profile property ownership case, the team successfully defended a proprietary estoppel claim in the High Court relating to the beneficial ownership of several substantial landholdings with an aggregate value of almost £5m. Taylor also has expertise in freehold restrictive covenant matters. Clients of the practice include Stoke-on-Trent College, Swansway Garage Group and George Birchall.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP’s practice focuses on commercial property disputes for corporates and, in 2016, was active in a broad range of matters, including the recovery of possession from unlawful occupiers and squatters, and disputes arising from the Party Wall Act. The team also regularly acts for institutional lenders and local landed estates in disputes arising from agricultural land. Shrewsbury-based Brian Aikman, who heads the team, and Wolverhampton-based Gareth Ruddock are the main contacts.

At Knights Professional Services Limited, Richard Jones has expertise in property ownership disputes, rights of way issues, business lease renewals and commercial and residential possession claims. Examples of the team’s work include defending an adverse possession claim on behalf of a non-profit making club, and handling contentious property matters for Hanson UK.

For one client, mfg Solicitors LLPprobably has the best property litigation practice in Worcestershire’, and the team’s expertise spans all areas of land and property, including disputes involving landlords and tenants, forfeiture, contentious tenancy renewals, dilapidation claims, and breach of covenants claims. Bromsgrove-based head of practice Harjie Singh Bindra, who is ‘blessed with very sound judgement about the merits of his clients’ case’, undertakes a broad caseload for residential and commercial landowners, including property-related litigation involving allegations of fraud. In Worcester, the ‘tenacious and robustKirsten Bridgewater has a niche practice in rural disputes and was busy on a number of co-ownership disputes relating to farmland.

At Sydney Mitchell LLP, senior solicitor Sundeep Bilkhu is a ‘good driving force’ for cases and continued to be particularly active in landlord and tenant issues for lenders and receivers: Bilkhu represented Hertford Solutions in enforcing a possession order against a tenant in occupation, and also acted for a receiver in obtaining vacant possession of a property following the borrower’s default of a legal charge. In other highlights, the team is defending Property Link Midlands in a claim alleging breach of a landlord repair covenant in a lease. Kamal Majevadia heads the practice.

At Thursfields Solicitors, Mark Pittaway and Tim Lawrence advise on landlord and tenant and boundary disputes, and in one example of work advised a tenant on a claim against an adjoining tenant arising from a fire that caused the destruction of part of the claimant tenant’s military vehicle collection. Lawrence also deals with security over land and is representing a defendant in a dispute relating to the use of a mortgage over a property to secure an alleged loan. The team was enhanced by the hire of solicitor Naveed Ansari, who joined the firm from an in-house role. Ansari specialises in service charge and rent disputes.

Social housing

Index of tables

  1. Social housing
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP’s substantial practice ‘has a real history and feel for the social housing area, and understands the needs and pressures inherent therein’. As a result, the team is something of a thought leader in the sector, and head of practice Jonathan Cox continued to advise Riverside Housing Group on the voluntary Right to Buy pilot initiated by the government in January 2016. One particular area of expertise is corporate work, where recent highlights included Victoria Jardine acting for Trafford Housing Trust in its £160m joint venture with London & Quadrant for the development of new housing in the North West, and newly promoted partner Gemma Bell advising Thirteen Housing Group on its proposed consolidation. Senior partner Peter Hubbard, who heads the practice with Cox, focuses on major projects as well as constitutional, governance and regulatory issues, and recently assisted Southway Housing Trust with a suitable corporate and governance structure that would reflect its new commercial activities. In the housing litigation space, Helen Tucker and Baljit Basra ‘provide clients with prompt, reliable and practical advice in the most complex matters’; and Andrew Milross is a key figure for construction and procurement work.

Gowling WLG impresses with its ‘excellent business acumen and industry knowledge’, and the team continued to handle high-value projects not only for registered providers, but also for local authorities, residential developers, and major pension funds investing in the sector. In the regeneration space, Richard Beckingsale is acting for the London Borough of Barnet in the £4bn regeneration of Brent Cross, Cricklewood, while in the affordable housing development sphere, director Sally Farrall is advising Croydon Council on the delivery of new homes by its subsidiary, Brick by Brick. Head of practice Jacqueline Knox specialises in development and investment and (non-contentious) housing management, and is advising key client Sanctuary Housing Group on a number of mandates, including its acquisition of the former Bullwood Hall prison site from Harrow Estates. Another name to note is Sarah Sasse, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable on ICT procurement and Public Contracts Regulations’; Sasse advised Bromford Housing on its procurement of a partner to provide enterprise solutions and transformation partner services via a competitive dialogue process.

At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, areas of expertise include acquisition and development, sales, housing and leasehold management and securitisation. Louise Drew heads the team and focuses on property acquisition and disposals for registered providers, extra care retirement villages and specialist tenure leasehold schemes; her recent work includes acting for ExtraCare Charitable Trust in the sale of 210 shared ownership and outright sale units at a new extra care retirement village in Coventry, and assisting Aspire Housing with the auction sale of properties considered unsuitable for renovation. Paul Huggins was also highly active, with key mandates including advising WM Housing on the acquisition of new office premises, and representing Bromford Housing Association in its purchase of 29 units under a Golden Brick development agreement. Other names to note are Emma Gamble, who specialises in fully mutual housing associations, leasehold schemes for the elderly and asset disposals; and Birmingham-based Vicki Simpson, who leads on securitisation work for registered providers. The team lost Samantha Orluta and Andrew Dudley to Bond Dickinson LLP and Wright Hassall LLP respectively. All named partners are based in Stratford upon Avon, unless otherwise stated.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP continued to be busy on a number of high-value property mandates, with the team advising registered providers on regeneration projects, mixed-use development schemes, and the acquisition and leasing of property. Practice head Jeremy Hunt, who divides his time between Birmingham and London, acted for Mount Green Housing Association in the tenanted exchange of 105 homes on the Crescent Estate in Bexley to Hyde Housing Association for 206 homes in Runnymede, Surrey Heath, Epsom and Ewell, and other areas. In another example of property work, senior associate Simon Robinson, who ‘has a very good understanding of various types of land acquisition contracts’, advised Rooftop Housing Group on the acquisition of several strategic development sites across Worcestershire. In the housing management space, Yetunde Dania handles both non-contentious and contentious mandates and ‘provides a very professional and reliable service, with a willingness to take time to discuss and consider case prospects’. The practice was enhanced by the hire of public sector development and regeneration specialist Christopher Plumley from Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP.

Wright Hassall LLP witnessed some change at the top, with the hire of Andrew Dudley from Shakespeare Martineau LLP, who replaced consultant Carol Matthews as head of practice; Matthews remains a key figure, especially in relation to charging and securitisation. Dudley has particular expertise in acting for registered providers on development acquisitions, stock rationalisations and regeneration projects, and in one example of work, he assisted Whitefriars Housing Group with its acquisition of 58 properties from Keepmoat Homes at Spirit Quarters in Coventry. Another important player on the property side is Claire Waring, who ‘impresses with her level of understanding of the affordable housing sector’. Mary Rouse leads on housing management work and is ‘very knowledgeable, both in litigation and advisory matters’; Rouse continued to be busy for clients such as Orbit Group and Aragon Housing Association, and in one highlight secured an injunction and exclusion order against a violent tenant. Longhurst Group, Housing 21 and Sovereign Housing group are also clients of the practice.

Pinsent Masons LLP continued to enjoy the lion’s share of instructions from the Homes and Communities Agency, with department head David Meecham advising on a wide variety of matters, including the procurement of an accelerated construction development partner for the delivery of housing at Daedalus Waterfront, and a collaboration with North Somerset District Council for a large-scale residential and/or mixed-use scheme in Weston super Mare. Meecham also regularly acts for county councils on social housing schemes and wins praise for his ‘good practical commercial advice, whilst recognising the council’s position as a landlord’. The team is also noted as being ‘one of the most user-friendly firms covering investors in the social housing sector’, and both Stephen Brown and Edward Sunderland continued to be busy in the finance space: Brown advised Santander on a private placement by Greenfields Community Housing relating to the construction of 850 new affordable homes in the Braintree area, and Sunderland assisted ExtraCare Trust with its recent fundraising to assist it in its development of retirement villages.

At Shoosmiths LLP, senior associate David Perry specialises in development and real estate finance and is advising Derwent Housing Association on all aspects of a major photovoltaic lease project for a 1,500-roof portfolio. Perry is also acting for Longhurst Group on several governance queries concerning a stock charging exercise. In the housing management space, associate Bukola Aremu handles a range of issues, including anti-social behaviour, eviction and possession proceedings, tenancy and succession issues; Aremu is assisting practice head Bhavesh Amlani with advice to Severn Vale Housing Society on preserved right-to-buy and right-to-acquire work. Amlani focuses on development and investment work for registered providers. The team secured a number of new clients in 2016, including CHIC and Regenda Group.

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