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Freeths LLP

Work 0115 936 9369
Fax 0115 859 9600

James Hart

Work 0845 2746811
Freeths LLP

Work Department

Real estate.


Property development with particular emphasis on major projects. In recent years James has acted in some of the largest urban regeneration projects in the country, including in Solihull, Leeds, Derby and Greater London. In acting for private residential and commercial developers, public authorities, funders and housing associations James has developed a holistic understanding of major project and development work and regularly advises upon joint venture and structural agreements, site assembly, development agreements, overage, conditional contracts and options, infrastructure and funding arrangements. Recent projects include: major schemes to regenerate 1970s housing stock in Solihull and Greater London; the £70m extension of Touchwood Shopping Centre for the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull; and a large-scale transfer of New Town legacy assets from the HCA to Milton Keynes Council, in which James headed the 25-strong project team representing the Council and its LLP subsidiary which acquired the majority of the assets in a pioneering use of local authority-controlled companies. James is also advising Bedford Borough Council on several significant development and disposal projects in the borough along with existing clients such as Halton Borough Council, Bassetlaw District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and the London Borough of Havering on a range of property acquisition, management and disposal projects. For Derby City Council he has advised on the property aspects of a major, 30-year LLP joint venture proposed to be entered into with a private sector partner to transform a deprived inner-city neighbourhood through housing regeneration, and for the past ten years James has been closely advising Bellway Homes Limited in the highly successful public-private housing regeneration scheme covering four wards in the north of the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull.


Trained Freeths LLP; qualified 2005; partner Freeths LLP 2013 to date.


Law Society.


Nottingham Bluecoat School; University of Oxford (2000 Jurisprudence 2(1)).

East Midlands: Public sector

Local government

Within: Local government

Freeths LLP acts for county, district and unitary authorities in a wide range of instructions spanning state aid, development projects, judicial review and constitutional reform work. Nathan Holden directs the practice from Birmingham, with Stephen Pearson and James Hart as the main Nottingham contacts. In a major recent highlight, Pearson led advice for Cambridge City Council on the creation of Cambridge Investment Partnership, a housing investment joint venture vehicle between the City Council and Hill Investment. Hart’s recent caseload saw him assist Halton Borough Council with the development of its land for a major new rail-connected train manufacturing and maintenance plant. Milton Keynes Development Partnership is also on the client roster.

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East Midlands: Real estate

Commercial property: Nottingham and Derby

Within: Commercial property: Nottingham and Derby

Delivering ‘excellent service all-around’, Freeths LLP is praised for its ‘outstanding depth of knowledge’. The practice is active across the full range of commercial property mandates, and has experienced a recent uptick in real estate finance work for education and care sector clients. Key figures include Nottingham practice head Guy WinfieldEmna Sfar-Gandoura, who joined from Shoosmiths LLP , Gary Reynolds (an ‘excellent communicator and negotiator’) and  ‘exceptional lawyerJames Clamp . Also recommended are James Hart, Gillian Roberts (‘a lateral thinker who finds solutions on her feet’), Heather Davies, Jon Smart, Adam Watson and Isobel Radford, who is noted for her ‘excellent pragmatic and commercial approach’. Williamson advised Lucan Gray on the sale of the Custard Factory and surrounding land to Oval Real Estate. Other highlights included advising BDW Trading on the proposed purchase of a site for 1100 new houses in Bingham from the Crown Estate, involving a planning permission requiring the building of a new school and covering the costs for the expansion of an existing school; and acting for One Housing Group on a development agreement and thirty-year institutional leases for four luxury care homes in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Other clients include Tarmac, Chancerygate and Bellway Homes.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: Dispute resolution

Commercial litigation: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Within: Leading individuals

James Hartley - Freeths LLP

Within: Commercial litigation: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Key names in Freeths LLP’s recently expanded Sheffield practice include team head James Hartley, who also works in the Leeds office; James Berry, who joined from Irwin Mitchell in 2018; senior associate Mark Gudgeon, who joined from CMS; and associate Lisa Greenstreet, who has experience in the manufacturing and retail sectors. In a recent highlight, Hartley acted for over 550 postmasters in litigation against the Post Office relating to damages incurred following the failure of its computer system resulting in staff having to repay sums in the form of alleged shortfalls. Travis Perkins Group, Aldo, Peerless Europe and North Tyneside Council are also clients.

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