Commercial property: elsewhere in the East Midlands in East Midlands

Gateley Plc

Gateley Plc's practice has become synonymous with advising developers on large, flagship regional and national development projects, under the leadership of practice head Simon Taylor. Its work covers a wide range of developments, including those involving residential, hotel, industrial, retail and student schemes. Town centre regeneration projects are another strong suit, with Taylor being a noted name in this area. The firm's credentials in the development space have been further enhanced by the hire of construction partner Piet van Gelder from Spearing Waite LLP. Colin Gittus assists clients with property finance, quality asset management and letting work, and property-related support in corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Simon Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Colin Gittus

Key clients

Clowes Developments (UK) Limited

Simons Developments Limited

Barberry Developments Limited

Concierge 3 Limited

Southampton City Council

Certas Energy UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Clowes Developments on pre-letting, construction and forward funding sale of Units 2 & 3 Capacity Dartford to M&G and Standard Life.
  • Advised Simons Developments on a joint venture with Salhia Investments in relation to a strategic development site at Lolworth near Cambridge for a new business park.
  • Acted for Barberry Developments on the sale and development of approximately 800 student rooms in Bishopsgate Coventry.
  • Acted for Concierge 3 on the development, pre-letting and funding of a 620-room hotel complex at phase 3 North Wharf Gardens and major pre-lets to Staycity and Premier Inn.


Hewitsons provides full-service support on all aspects of commercial property work, and while its strong profile in the Northampton market sees it attract mandates from boot and shoe manufacturers, the firm also has notable specialisms in the motor dealer, healthcare and education arenas. Work for public sector clients is another pillar of the practice. Team head David Wells has vast experience of investment acquisitions and sales (particularly in the office and light industrial sectors), and also commercial landlord and tenant matters. Marc Carter is recommended for his commercial property development expertise. Other standout individuals include Patricia Kempson and legal director Claire Howard-Amos.

Practice head(s):

David Wells


‘Able to understand the key issues and practical concerns.’

Key clients

Mansfield College, Oxford

United Learning Group

The Trustees of the Wilson Foundation (Charity)

IMT Aviation Limited

Lightdoor Limited

Cheaney Shoes Limited

Medigold Health Consultancy Limited

Bedford College (FE)

Ardent Hire Solutions

A W James

Levitt Bernstein Associates Limited

Wimbledon Property Holdings Ltd /Marchmont Investment Management Limited

Bright Horizons Family Solutions Limited

XPO Transport Solutions UK Limited

Community Spaces Northampton (charity)

Work highlights

  • Acted for United Church Schools Foundation on the acquisition of two independent schools, one in Hertfordshire and one in Surrey.
  • Assisted the Wilson Foundation with acquiring a residential outdoor centre for school children from a local authority.
  • Acted on a significant pre-letting agreement whereby AW James Limited, a major property company in the Milton Keynes area, contracted with a wholly owned subsidiary of Regus, in respect of over 47,000 square feet of office accommodation, backed by a multimillion-pound guarantee from the Regus parent company.
  • Advised on a significant pre-letting agreement whereby AW James Limited, a major property company in the Milton Keynes area, contracted to let nearly 20,000 square feet of office premises to Shoosmiths solicitors.
  • Advised Levitt Bernstein Associates on the leasehold acquisition of 11,000 square feet of newly redeveloped professional office accommodation in north London.

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP's East Midlands practice is spearheaded in Northampton and Leicester by Lucy Lord and the 'ultra-commercial' Nicholas James respectively. It handles a varied workload, including investment fund acquisitions and disposals, residential and commercial development, property finance (including portfolio lending and refinancing), and landlord and tenant work. In addition to James, Stuart Burns is another key partner in Leicester. Alexandra Kirkwood and Erica Gradus are highly regarded associates in Northampton.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Lord (Northampton); Nicholas James (Leicester)


Howes Percival is excellent at covering all the aspects of work undertaken by an investment and development property company. Complex lettings, land transactions and acquisitions are handled with great skill and practicality

Nicholas James is ultra-commercial and Stuart Burns is superb at detail

Key clients

Mulberry Property Developments Limited

Mulberry Commercial Developments Limited

Handelsbanken plc

Santander UK plc

HSBC UK Bank plc

C Brewer & Sons Limited

Motorvogue (Northampton) Limited

Davidsons Developments Limited

Charles Street Buildings Group

Henderson UK Property Fund

Persimmon Homes Limited

Welcome Break Group Limited

In ‘n’ Out Centres Limited

Grenson Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Mulberry Property Developments on the estate set up and subsequent plot sales for eight of the client’s residential developments in the Midlands.
  • Acted for Mulberry Commercial Developments as the buyer of a commercial development site in Bedford, acquired by way of sub-sale, for £5m.
  • Acted for developer landlord Mulberry Commercial Developments on the grant of a development agreement for lease and lease in respect of a 3.5 acre site housing a 60,000 sq ft commercial building with associated office space.
  • Acted for a lender on the finance of a scheme for the redevelopment of a town centre conservation area in a prominent market town in Northamptonshire which included the conversion of listed buildings and the development of new residential, commercial and retail units.
  • Acted for a shoe manufacturer on the ten-year letting of a retail unit in a premier retail arcade in Central London.

Knights plc

Knights PLC's acquisition of Spearing Waite LLP in 2018 saw it pick up the firm's commercial property team, which is led by Tom Bower. The group covers commercial and residential property matters throughout England and Wales. In the development space, it excels in work involving large retail, care home, office, warehouse and residential development schemes. On the investment side, it also demonstrates strong capabilities in office and retail portfolio acquisitions and disposals, and provides ongoing support on portfolio management and restructuring (Satpaul Dard specialises in portfolio management in the retail sector). Real estate finance and dispute resolution are also cornerstones of the practice. Former partner Erin Vickers left to join Fraser Brown after five years at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Tom Bower

Other key lawyers:

Satpaul Dard

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Shakespeare Martineau LLP has a particularly strong track record in residential development and promotion, where it acts for strategic land promoters, housebuilders and PRS providers, among others; practice head Louise Ingram and legal director Ian Slinger specialise in this area, advising on strategic acquisitions and disposals of land nationally. The firm also has a first-rate reputation in the commercial development sphere, where its work covers retail, leisure, warehouse, office and industrial developments; Martin Jones is a name to note in this area. Elsewhere, Kate Hall has many years of experience of secured lending transactions and insolvency-related property work. Portfolio management (for SMEs and family businesses) is another area of strength of the firm. Kevin Sumner is another key figure.

Practice head(s):

Louise Ingram

Other key lawyers:

Martin Jones; Kate Hall; Kevin Sumner; Ian Slinger; Jonathan Fear

Key clients

Persimmon Homes

Parkers of Leicester Limited

Parker Strategic Land Limited

Raynesway Estates

Drummond Estate

Everards Brewery

Countryside Plc/Westleigh Partnerships

David Wilson Homes Limited

Winvic Construction

Avant Homes Limited

Mattioli Woods Plc (and their pension schemes)

CJC Development Company Limited

Royal Bank of Scotland Plc

Lloyds Bank Plc

Whitworth Brothers and Whitworths Holdings Limited

CODE Students Limited

Archaylen Property Limited

Leicester Cathedral

Pick Everard

Artisan Press Holdings Limited

Godwin Group

NIS Signs Leicester Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the Drummond Trust on the next phase of residential land sales at New Lubbesthorpe, valued in the region of £40m.
  • Acted for The Hunny Pot Day Nursery on its £800,000 acquisition of a redevelopment site.
  • Advising on the acquisition and development arm of national contractor Winvic Construction Limited on the acquisition, construction and development of an out-of-town site adjacent to the A14/A1 junction in Cambridgeshire.
  • Advised Godwin Developments on the speculative acquisition of an out-of-town site in Rutland with development potential to create a modern multi-let roadside retail park adjacent to the A1.
  • Acting for two private landowners as part of a collaboration of six private landowners in selling land for a residential development of 450 houses to BDW Trading Limited.

Wilkin Chapman LLP

Wilkin Chapman LLP, which acts for regional and national clients, is particularly noted for its strengths in the housing and development space, where it undertakes a significant amount of work for developers; Rachael Perry is the lead adviser to Galliford Try, one of the firm's largest clients. In addition, the firm also has a sizeable social housing client base. Led by practice head Ruth Brewin, the team also has a strong profile in commercial property matters with a nexus to the energy and renewables, education and academies, and tourism and leisure industries. Peter Hanson and Jonty Pearson are other key figures in Lincoln. Long-serving partner Martyn Chilvers retired during 2018, while Wendy Spalding-Siracusa, whose practice is split between Grimsby and Lincoln, came on board from Sills & Betteridge LLP.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Brewin (Grimsby)


The firm has great strength in depth and a good team ethos

Peter Hanson is very experienced and knowledgeable, and is supported by a diligent team

The team’s strengths are its insightfulness, dogged determination and ability to work to tight deadlines in a transaction

The team is very down-to-earth

The firm strikes a good balance between modern efficiency and a personal approach to client contact/relations

Ruth Brewin is not only an outstanding property solicitor, but also has great interpersonal skills and is a pleasure to work with. She also has good common sense and offers practical advice, which is always based on legal necessities. Her negotiation skills are excellent and she always seems to remain calm when under pressure

Key clients

Linden Homes/Galliford Try Group

Cyden Homes Limited

LACE Housing Association

Aga Rangemaster Group Plc

The Brocklesby Estate/Earl of Yarborough

Acis Group Limited

M F Strawson

Ashover Estates Limited

Lincoln Corn Exchange Markets (1991) Limited/ Lincolnshire Co-operative Limited

Castle Square Developments

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lincolnshire Co-operative on the letting of retail premises in Lincoln city centre to Lakeland, part of a flagship city centre redevelopment scheme.
  • Acted for a landowner on the negotiation and exchange of conditional agreement of residential development land with a national housebuilder.
  • Acted for a developer on the refinance of a landmark luxury residential development in the centre of the historical quarter of Lincoln.
  • Acted for Leverton Farms on the sale of land in a village near Lincoln to a national housebuilder.
  • Acting for a landlord developer on the development agreement for lease and lease to the Botanist (a national bar/restaurant operator), which is taking a 9,000 square foot unit in the next phase of the £70m redevelopment of part of Lincoln town centre.

BHW Solicitors

The growth of BHW Solicitors' practice has been reflected by an uptick in the firm's secured lending work for institutional lenders and peer-to-peer lending platforms; in a related development, secured lending specialist Kate Burlinson joined as an associate solicitor from Spearing Waite LLP. Development-related work is another core part of the practice; Ian Sanders heads up this part of the offering, and advises developers on all aspects of development projects across the UK. Lucy Ward, who (like Burlinson) has joined from Spearing Waite LLP, leads a new specialist plot sales team, which acts for developers and housebuilders. The firm also acts for plot purchasers in relation to new build developments. Elsewhere, Beverley Merrell heads up a group,which advises pension schemes on property-related matters. The firm also assists investors with portfolio transactions (office blocks, business parks and warehouse premises), and acts for clients in matters connected with sectors such as retail and leisure, and storage/distribution. Recently promoted partner Eleanor Rattay is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Beverley Merrell; Ian Sanders; Eleanor Rattay

Other key lawyers:

Kate Burlinson; Lucy Ward


Excellent communication, really understanding of clients and their needs, quick and professional service, good advice

Beverley Merrell is an excellent lawyer and very personable

Key clients

Mattioli Woods Plc

Morningside Holdings Limited

Obstrat Limited

Fischer Future Heat UK Limited

Next Holdings Limited

DHL Parcel UK Limited

T-Systems Limited

Lavendon Group Plc

Natwest Bank Plc

Svenska Handelsbanken Plc

HSBC Bank Plc

BPX Group


Folk 2 Folk

Staircraft Limited

Bamfords Trust Plc

Marks Electrical Limited

Alijyso Limited


Work highlights

  • Advised Euranglo Cardiff Limited on the surrender back from a substantial tenant of a number of floors in Southgate House, a flagship office building in Cardiff City Centre.
  • Became a professional partner of Folk2Folk in February 2018.
  • Advised MoneyThing on substantial loans secured against UK real estate, some of which related to significant redevelopment projects in Liverpool city centre.
  • Advised T-Systems Limited on a lease of new and redeveloped top floor offices in central London as part of T-Systems’ relocation from Euston Tower.
  • Assisted Garben Holdings with its disposal of bars and pubs across the East Midlands.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP covers the commercial property market extensively, by leveraging the expertise of its Leicester team, and also its wider national network. Its excellent reputation has seen it secure Leicester's Phoenix Arts Centre and Abbey Commercial Investments Group as new clients. Although the group in Leicester primarily focuses on high-value and complex transactions, it also handles development work, landlord and tenant matters, and real estate finance transactions, among other areas. Team head Simon Abbott specialises in investment portfolio management and work with a nexus to the retail sector. Also recommended is Sam Pancholi, who has more than 18 years of commercial property experience. Director Harjit Saund is the lead relationship manager to clients such as Tarmac and Flogas Britain.

Practice head(s):

Simon Abbott

Other key lawyers:

Sam Panchioli; Harjit Saund


Professional in its work and very efficient

Key clients


Flogas Britain

Svenska Handlesbanken


Motor Parts Direct Limited

Cambridge & Counties Bank

Abbey Commercial Investments Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for H W Coates Limited on the sale of an investment property for £5.1m.
  • Acted for HD Property Developments Limited on the sale of an investment property for £5m.
  • Acted for AMK Peterborough Fruit Services Ltd on the purchase of land and associated development agreement, with a value of £26m.

Langleys Solicitors LLP

Peter Horner leads Langleys Solicitors LLP's practice, which is sought-out for advice on mixed-use development projects in the East Midlands, East Anglia and Greater London. In addition to acting for developers, the firm also generates a strong flow of work from investors and landowners as well. Beyond development work, landlord and tenant matters, and portfolio transactions, are among other drivers of mandates.

Practice head(s):

Peter Horner

Key clients

University of Lincoln

Melbourne Holdings Limited

Lincoln College

Specialist Heat Exchangers Limited

Jackson & Jackson Developments Limited

Thonock & Somerby Estate

Hoval Limited

Taylors Service Garages (Boston) Limited

Thames Ambulance Services Limited

Saracens Securities Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Melbourne Holdings on its £1.76m acquisition of a parade of shops on a local community centre, which was owned by Tesco.
  • Assisted Burrows, a landowner, with the negotiation – along with two other landowners – of a promotion agreement with a promoter in relation to a piece of land in a Nottinghamshire village.
  • Advised Briggs on the exchange of land for development of a new residential estate and development of a small housing estate on client’s land.
  • Acted for Hoval Boilers Limited on the sale of land to the owner of the freehold of a factory building, which would see the owner construct an extension of the existing factory. When completed, this would be leased back to the client.
  • Advised Havenhand on an option for sale of industrial land in Sheffield.

Nelsons Solicitors Limited

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's James Coningsby, the firm's lead partner in Leicester, has extensive expertise in a wide range of development projects taking place in cities nationwide, including residential, retail and mixed-use schemes; recent mandates have involved projects in Leicester, Sheffield and Sunderland, among other locations.  He is also active in the social housing sector. Other facets of Coningsby's practice include sale and leaseback transactions, secured lending transactions and property acquisitions and disposals. With more than 28 years of commercial property experience, Coningsby's presence in Leicester enhances the firm's commercial offering in the East Midlands generally; the firm also fields specialists in Nottingham and Derby.

Practice head(s):

Riaz Dudhia (Nottingham)

Other key lawyers:

James Coningsby (Leicester)

Key clients

Cambridge and Counties Bank Limited

Abode Hallam Limited

Aimrok Retail Limited

Aimrok Development Limited

GS Developments (Leicester) Limited

Ruddle Merz Limited

Petit Forestier UK Limited

National Space Science Centre

IMAP Student Limited

Trafalgar Global Limited

Work highlights

  • Assisted Abode Nottingham with a forward funding deal for the development of 117 flats at High Pavement, Nottingham

Roythornes Solicitors

Roythornes SolicitorsJo Ladds heads up a a dedicated development and planning department, which acts for regional and national housebuilders, as well as landowners, on development projects across England and Wales; matters range in size from small-scale schemes involving a few units to new town developments involving thousands of homes. Elsewhere, the firm distinguishes itself in the energy and waste sector; Edd Johnson heads up a specialist team, whose expertise includes the property-related aspects of wind farms, solar developments and anaerobic digestion plants, among others. Other mainstream commercial property work is handled by a group led by Andrew Czajka. It is particularly active in landlord and tenant matters, most notably in the licensed trade sector, and also in property-related mining and minerals mandates. The partnership was boosted by the promotion of Iain Hibbert in 2018.

Practice head(s):

Jo Ladds; Andrew Czajka

Other key lawyers:

Iain Hibbert; Edd Johnson


The team has good knowledge of the development sector, and is hardworking and effective

Everyone is really friendly and happy to try and help in any way they can. Advice is always clear and free from too much technical jargon

Individuals are technically very competent – and come across well. As a client you feel as if you’re in safe hands. The individuals adapt their style to your level of knowledge on subject areas, always making sure you fully understand the ramnifications of decisions and fully exploring options

Work highlights

  • Advised landowner client on the sale of land in the East Midlands for development, with deferred payments secured by way of parent company guarantee, together with option for further phased land disposal.
  • Acted for landowner client on sale of a residential development site in Cambridgeshire, with the benefit of outline planning permission.
  • Acted for landowner client on the lease of substrata to allow extraction of pot ash in North Yorkshire.
  • Advised landowning family trust on the multi-phase development of a new town. The mixed use development comprises of over 3,000 new homes together with 16 hectares of employment land, schools and a community hub including shops
  • Advised landowner client on an option for lease over circa 500 acres of land for development of two solar farms.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP's commercial property practice is led by Richard Osborn, who is the firm's regional office head in the Midlands, and divides his time between the Leicester and Birmingham offices. Osborn is particularly experienced in commercial and residential development and regeneration projects, where he acts for developers, landowners and funders. Also notable is that Osborn has expertise in restructuring transactions in the retail sector. In addition, he advises schools on academy conversions, and he also handles real estate work for universities and other higher education institutions. Osborn works alongside associate Catherine Bowen, whose experience includes property portfolio transactions and landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Osborn

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Bowen

Wilson Browne

Notwithstanding Wilson Browne's historic roots as a private client firm, the growth of the firm's commercial property practice now sees it it generate work from a broader client base from across the East Midlands. It acts for private and corporate landowners, developers, housing associations, developers and investors, among others. The firm has further enhanced its profile by acquiring Corby firm Friday Legal Solicitors; John Punni, who is one of the additions to the team, has succeeded Tom Warrender as the head of the commercial property practice. Warrender joined the firm's board of management, while also remaining an active partner in the commercial property team. The firm's varied workload includes freehold acquisitions and sales, leases, options and promotion agreements, and investment portfolios. Senior associate Simon Chambers is another key arrival as part of the Fridays deal. Ika Částka  has been advising individuals and businesses on commercial, rural and agricultural property matters since 1986, while Nina Wilson is another key figure in the team.

Practice head(s):

John Punni

Other key lawyers:

Tom Warrender; Ika Částka; Nina Wilson; Simon Chambers

Key clients

Bakers Waste Ltd

Perfecta Assets Ltd

Anglo-Turkish International Limited

Beeches Farm Limited

CS2 Limited

Geo J Cox

Compass Community

F C S Properties Limited

ANC Access Limited

Market Harborough Building Society

Gorell Barnes Chartered Surveyor

Mama Jacq’s Limited

National Education Union

Rushden Town Council

Work highlights

  • The firm has acted for the National Education Union for over 20 years in connection with property related matters. During 2018, its work included acting for the client on the disposal of a freehold site in Exeter, and also the acquisition of a freehold office site in Nottingham.
  • Acted for Ferrers Technical Services Limited and Oberman’s Audio Visual Limited on the disposal of their entire commercial property portfolio.
  • Acted for Compass Children’s Homes in the acquisition of a number of leasehold properties.
  • Acted for Mama Jacq’s Limited on its acquisition of a lease at the new development at BoxPark, Wembley.
  • Assisted Loake Brothers Limited with acquiring leases in Guilford, Birmingham, Cheltenham and Market Harborough.