Commercial property: Nottingham and Derby in East Midlands

Browne Jacobson LLP

Browne Jacobson LLP's Nottingham team covers the entire ambit of commercial property matters for public and private sector clients. It performs equally well advising clients both on a standalone basis and as part of a wider national group, where cross-office support is required. Its market-leading reputation is underlined by its breadth of expertise; in the retail sector, practice head Sarah Parkinson has a wealth of experience of acting for household-name retailers on acquisitions and phased relocations, among other matters. The education sector is another strength of the firm, which advises on academy conversions, academy mergers, and acquisitions and disposals of freehold interests, among other mandates. Deputy practice head Barry Sully heads up a specialist development and housing team, which acts for developers, housing associations, local authorities and landowners. Elsewhere, the health industry is another key workstream of the practice. Suki TonksRobert Wofinden and Gabor Taller are other key figures.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Parkinson (head of department); Barry Sully (deputy head of department)


Thorough and professional experts, personalised services tailored to suit specific requirements’

The team demonstrates an excellent level of professionalism and it is personable, helpful, supportive, flexible, reliable and consistent

Browne Jacobson’s team has an in-depth knowledge of the complex nature of NHS and the legal requirements of other government agencies

Very responsive and able to deliver to whatever timelines are set

Suki Tonks is responsive, always available and returns calls as soon as possible. She inspires great confidence that detail is covered and that she is able to understand both commercial and legal requirements’

Key clients

Walgreens Boots Alliance

East Midlands Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust

London Borough of Croydon

LVMH – Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

Kiko Uk Limited

Miller Birch Developments

Westerman Homes

Homes England

Shropshire Council


Work highlights

  • Acted for Shropshire Council on the £51m acquisition of three linked shopping centres in Shrewsbury by acquiring the Jersey Property Unit Trusts which held the assets; this was the largest-ever deal undertaken by the client.
  • Advised shareholders on the £52m sale of Manthorpe Building Products Holdings to Polypipe Group.
  • Advising Midlands-based developer Miller Birch on the acquisition, redevelopment and disposal of the historic Guildhall complex in Nottingham city centre – one of the largest developments in the city’s history.
  • Acted for Amalgamated Holdings Wilkinson on the acquisition of 118-120 Colmore Row – a substantial retail and residential investment block in the centre of Birmingham.
  • Advising Leicestershire County Council on the East of Lutterworth Strategic Development Area – the proposed ‘urban extension’ to the town of Lutterworth: 2,750 new homes, employment development, two new schools and retail, leisure and community facilities together with major road infrastructure connecting to the M1.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP is a top-tier firm in all types of commercial property matters in the East Midlands, including commercial and residential development projects, regeneration projects, property finance, and investment sales and acquisitions. In addition to having a stable of longstanding clients, the firm continues to win work from new sources. Darren Williamson is the firm's national head of real estate. Guy Winfield, who runs the team in Nottingham, focuses on the food retail and industrial sectors. Property development expert Heather Davies, whose practice is split between Nottingham and Derby, is experienced in matters connected with areas such as waste to energy, the private rented sector, mines and minerals, and hotels. Jon Smart has a standout reputation in the care sector. James Clamp made partner in 2018.

Practice head(s):

Darren Williamson; Guy Winfield

Other key lawyers:

Heather Davies; Jon Smart; James Clamp; Mark Gradwell; Gary Reynolds; Gillian Roberts; Thomas Golding; Matthew Grocock; James Hart; Atiyya Khaliq; Isobel Radford; Emna Sfar-Gandoura; Adam Watson


The team understands how we work and what we want. It is practical and gets transactions done

Key clients


Harworth Estates

LNT/Ideal Carehomes

BDW Trading (Barratt, David Wilson Homes)

EM Lawshare


Travis Perkins

Redwood Bank

Cambridge & Counties Bank


Work highlights

  • Acting for Scotch Corner Designer Village on the development and the first pre-lets of a 92-unit designer outlet village at Scotch Corner, North Yorkshire.
  • Acted for The Market Village Company on the high value and time critical sale (via pre-emption rights) of Brixton Market to Hondo Enterprises.
  • Advised Nottinghamshire County Council Pension Fund on the forward purchase of The Pavilion and The Oast House, Spinningfields, Manchester from Allied London.
  • Advised Harworth Estates Investments Limited on the redevelopment of a former colliery at Swadlincote, Derbyshire
  • Advised LNT Care Developments, a care home specialist developer and construction company, on the forward commit sales to institutional fund (Octopus Healthcare) in relation to three new build luxury care homes with a combined turn-key value of £30m.

Gateley Plc

Gateley Plc's standing in the market is reflected by its strong record of advising on multimillion-pound transactions and large, high-profile developments, as well as other general property matters. The high calibre of its practice sees the firm act for national and international clients, such as Starwood Capital Group and Henry Boot Developments. Steven Plummer heads up a newly formed, specialist residential development team, which acts for 18 of the top 20 housebuilders in the UK. Another key figure is senior associate Elly Duggins, who leads on matters involving real estate finance and pensions scheme work, and works with associate Charlotte Chapman on insolvency-related distressed property transactions. 'Extremely knowledgeable' practice head Adam Youatt has particular expertise in healthcare sector transactions, and acts for GP practices, medical property developers and other health service providers.

Practice head(s):

Adam Youatt (Head of Real Estate, Nottingham); Steven Plummer (Head of Residential Development, Nottingham)

Other key lawyers:

Elly Duggins; Charlotte Chapman


Excellent practice with national coverage and readily accessible regional offices

The standout features of the team are its quality of communication and availability. Its personal touch is also noted

Adam Youatt is a star and is always my first choice of partner to work with on property matters. Charlotte Chapman assists him and she is a very safe pair of hands

The Nottingham team consistently hits the mark on professionalism, customer service and its ability to view a situation from a number of angles and read between the lines

Adam Youatt is extremely knowledgeable, responsive, and perhaps most importantly, tenacious on our behalf. He is also very pragmatic and on many occasions has provided sage counsel when we have been both over and under-ambitious in our contract negotiations

The team provides a commercial and pragmatic approach to real estate transactions

Key clients

Custodian REIT Plc

HSBC Bank Plc

Peter James Homes Limited

Guildhall Estates Limited

Harworth Group Plc

Avant Homes

Bildurn Properties

Henry Davidson Developments

Starwood Capital Group

Lloyds Bank Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Bildurn on its development of a site at Station Street, Nottingham, including the complex sale of part of the site to Vita for student accommodation.
  • Acted for KPMG as administrators of Countrywide Farmers. The company held a large number of properties, which were sold off to various buyers along with parts of the business.
  • Advised Custodian REIT Plc on the purchase of two multi-occupied retail parks for in excess of £25m.
  • Advised Peter James Homes on the acquisition of a residential development site from administrators in Bullbridge.
  • Advised Harworth Group on the sale of first serviced part of 112-acre mixed-use major development site at Riverdale Park, Doncaster.

Geldards LLP

A distinguishing feature of Geldards LLP's offering is its specialist 'networks team', which comprises more than 40 lawyers handling property work for clients in the gas and electricity distribution sectors; Jamie Gordon, who heads up this arm of the commercial property practice, has significant experience of pre-lets and regeneration schemes, among other matters. Elsewhere, the firm has made an increased push for work from public sector clients; Tiffany Cloynes leads a specialist team, which advises local authorities on matters such as disposals of surplus land and joint ventures with developers. In the education sector, Paul Hilsdon and others act for academy sponsors and schools. Evidencing the firm's credentials in the retail industry, it is one of only three English law firms on the property panel of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Other sector strengths include healthcare, motor retail, agriculture and charities. Derby team head Graham Banks and Heather Dixon have an outstanding reputation in residential and commercial development projects. David Watson leads the commercial property group in Nottingham. Hélène Maillet-Vioud joined in 2018 from Knights PLC.

Practice head(s):

Graham Banks (Derby); David Watson (Nottingham); Jamie Gordon (Nottingham – Networks)


A dedicated team with a total focus on the client’s requirements. I’ve never had cause to suspect any hint of a let-up in the push to improve results. Easy and rapid access to specialists

Jamie Gordon provides both professional advice and unstinting support with the client’s wider requirements, such as attending stakeholder events and ensuring the provision of management information for internal reporting; all members of Jamie’s team are focused on delivery to ensure optimum outcomes and maximum output. Excellent service

There is a clear and distinct high level of professionalism at Geldards. Communication is exceptional and the team is a real pleasure to work with

Fair knowledge of the energy industry

The Competitions in Connections team provides valuable support and service to our group companies. It has an understanding of our industry which is essential when procuring land rights

Heather Dixon in Derby is every bit the equal of property lawyers from London and Birmingham; she is very, very hardworking, resourceful and a dream to work with

Key clients

Bowmer & Kirkland

Walgreens Boots Alliance

CWC Group – (Clowes Developments (UK) Limited and Dove Valley Park Limited)

Miller Birch/Cedar House

PPH1 Ltd and DPK Management

BioCity Group Limited

Nottingham College

Stadler Rail Service UK Limited

Derby City Council

Leicester City Council

Sheffield City Council

Nottinghamshire County Council

Office Depot Group

Electricity North West

Western Power Distribution

Omya UK Limited

Wacker Neuson Limited

Redrow Homes Limited

Wise Living Homes

Trent Barton Buses

Connections Legal Management

UK Power Networks

UK Power Distribution

Harlaxton Energy Services

Energy Assets Networks

Easement Solutions

ESP Electricity

E.S. Pipelines

Wellingborough Borough Council

Synergy Health Managed Services Limited

Carlisle City Council

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice on the development of Fairham Pastures, Rushcliffe for the delivery of up to 3,000 new homes and 100,000 square metres of employment land for light industrial, distribution and offices.
  • Ongoing advice to Leicester City Council on the first phase of its Waterside Regeneration Scheme; a project of very significant local and regional importance, which anticipates the rejuvenation of some 60 acres of former industrial land adjacent to the city centre, with the council bringing forward a residential scheme with retail, commercial and leisure components.
  • Acted on behalf of BioCity Group on the acquisition and development of the ‘Discovery Building’, a new bioscience incubator facility which has been constructed adjacent to BioCity’s existing facility at Pennyfoot Street, Nottingham.
  • Obtained clarification from the Land Registry on what constitutes ‘valuable consideration’ to protect networks industry operators.
  • Advising Sheffield City Council on its development agreement with Urban Splash relating to Park Hill Sheffield, the largest listed building in Europe.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, development work is one of the mainstays of the practice, and the firm's enviable client roster includes local and national developers and international investors. The team includes Brendan Walsh, who has 30 years of experience of commercial development - including out of town retail, leisure and office regeneration projects - and also residential promotion and development. Like Walsh, Peter Dilks has strong capabilities in commercial development, and he also heads up a specialist national real estate energy team, which specialises primarily in the development of reserve power and alternative energy technologies; it has acted on schemes with a gross development value in excess of £1.5bn. Elsewhere, the firm acts for banks, funds and venture capitalists on secured lending and development finance transactions, as well as property investments. Roger HarcourtVictoria Bovington and others act for healthcare specialists and developers in the senior living and healthcare sector, while legal director Sarah Gunton is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Peter Dilks; Brendan Walsh

Key clients

Wilson Bowden Developments Limited

Linden Homes

Lloyds Bank Plc

Garner Holdings

BSP Holdings

LG Capital & Investment Limited

Foundation Property Company Limited

Statera Energy Limited

AIB Group (UK) Plc

Brackley Property Developments Limited

Mattioli Woods on behalf of the Johal Pension Fund

Shoby Properties Limited

Sun Chemical Limited

IWWS (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Negotiated development agreements for Wilson Bowden Developments on two 100-acre plus Midlands sites.
  • Advised Statera Energy on development and subsequent refinance of largest battery storage facility in UK.
  • Advising Garner Holdings on the development and disposal of Denby Hall Business Park.
  • Advising Greystacks Developments on the development of a 132-studio student scheme in Exeter.
  • Acted for Mattioli Woods on the acquisition and development of the largest new build office scheme in the centre of Leicester for over a decade.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP covers matters across the commercial property spectrum for household-name corporates, funds and investors, and UK-based lenders. Corporate occupier work is one notable pillar of the practice, with the firm having a particular strength in the UK retail and leisure sector, although other clients come from sectors such as logistics and heavy equipment. On the investment side, the team handles a mix of investment purchases and sales, and portfolio and joint venture transactions, as well as associated advice on asset management. Commercial development work is another cornerstone of the practice. Sean Burke heads up the group in Nottingham, which includes Ellis Gardner-BrowneDeborah Gordon BrownDavid Morley and Matthew Kenwood. Legal director Matthew Kemp is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Sean Burke

Key clients

Abbey Commercial Limited

AEW Europe LLP – Festival Place Unit Trust

Attenborough Alpha J

Brunswick Real Estate UK

Chelsea FC Plc

Deb Group Plc

Doosan Industrial Vehicles UK Limited

Estee Lauder Cosmetics Ltd

Fulham Shore Plc

IKEA Group of Companies

John Deere Limited

Joules Limited

Karen Jones CBE

Leftfield Capital

Mountain Warehouse Limited

Next plc

Pizza Hut (UK) Limited

Safestore Group

Stainton International Limited

Starbridge Capital

Thomas Cook Limited

Walgreen Boots Alliance Group of Companies

White & Case

Work highlights

  • Advising Walgreen Boots Alliance on all matters connected with the management of its English, Welsh and Scottish real estate portfolio. As one of three panel law firms in England/Wales it advises on a mixture of new lease acquisitions both high street and edge of town, lease renewals and regears.
  • Acting for Estee Lauder Cosmetics on all matters connected with the client’s English retail real estate portfolio as sole legal adviser.
  • Acting as Mountain Warehouse’s sole legal adviser on its retail real estate portfolio in England and Wales, as well as providing project advice on European acquisitions.
  • Advising Joules on the acquisition of two new significant out of town discount outlets including a pre-let unit at the planned Scotch Corner Designer Village.
  • Handling all pure UK real estate legal work for Brunswick Real Estate UK.

Flint Bishop LLP

Flint Bishop LLP's team is highly regarded for its involvement in development projects, including residential, commercial, retail, leisure, industrial and mixed-use schemes. The scope of its expertise in this area includes site acquisitions and disposals, site assembly, joint ventures, options and and forward funding agreements. Group head Ian Beardmore has 30 years of experience of acting for some of the largest property and construction firms in the East Midlands. Also recommended for their development expertise are Bev Simms and Christine Owen, as is Lucy Carter, whose practice also covers leases, farm acquisitions/disposals and the property related aspects of academy conversions (in the education sector).

Practice head(s):

Ian Beardmore

Other key lawyers:

Bev Simms; Christine Owen; Lucy Carter

Key clients

Bowmer & Kirkland Group of Companies

Clowes Developments Group of Companies

Ivygrove Developments Limited

MHA (Methodist Homes)

Donald Ward Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Birkett House School on the high-profile acquisition of the site of Birkett House Special School involving a highly complex situation concerning multiple land owning parties and the simultaneous surrender of various freehold and leasehold interests.

Knights plc

Fraser Brown strengthened its commercial property practice during 2018 with the hire of former Spearing Waite partner Erin Vickers. Vickers has extensive experience of real estate matters arising from corporate reorganisations, and corporate acquisitions and disposals, and has particular expertise in the retail and leisure and industrial sectors. The team is led by Anthony Ogley, who specialises in development work, which includes residential, commercial and mixed-use schemes. Chris Barnes is another notable individual. In addition to being a major player in the East Midlands market, the firm also generates work from national and international clients.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Ogley

Other key lawyers:

Erin Vickers; Chris Barnes

Nelsons Solicitors Limited

Nelsons Solicitors Limited's recent work has included advising developers on high-value developments and strategic land projects, as well as undertaking refinancing work for institutional lenders and assisting pension scheme trustees with property acquisitions. The team also handled mandates for local and national retailers, and also charities and other voluntary sector clients, and educational establishments.  The firm offers extensive coverage of the Nottingham and Derby markets, with specialist teams being based in both areas. Riaz Dudhia is the overall practice head.

Practice head(s):

Riaz Dudhia


Riaz Dudhia has built a team of exceptional competence and commerciality

Its team is approachable, knowledgeable and refreshingly easy to deal with, compared to some. It has a wide variety of expertise and inspires confidence that, if it is instructed to deal with a matter, it will do so promptly and efficiently

Key clients

Redrow Homes East Midlands Limited

Fairgrove Homes Limited

PKF Cooper Parry LLP

Giant UK Limited

Carlton Street Trading Limited

Intelligent Money Limited

Talbot & Muir Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Carlton Street Trading on the acquisition of a freehold site from a selling pub company, and then acted for the client (as landlords) in the grant of a new lease to a microbrewery.
  • Advised Aspire 4 Fitness on taking on a lease for a start-up gym/leisure business, as part of its expansion plans.
  • Advised FC Cartons on exiting a lease and relocating to a purpose-designed unit which is more than triple the size of its existing plant.
  • Acting for Carlton Street Trading Limited on the acquisition of a row of historic buildings in Carrington Street for regeneration which will complement the wider Broadmarsh redevelopment.


Actons garners a significant amount of praise from its clients, with strong credentials in high-value commercial property transactions. Team head Amanda Gordon has more than 30 years of experience, and is regularly sought-out by local and national businesses and charities. Another key figure is director Caroline Pearson, whose transactional experience (including freehold and leasehold acquisitions and sales) is part of a wider practice, which covers landlord and tenant matters, and residential and commercial development work. Secured lending transactions are another core part of her practice. Recently promoted director Zoe Romain and associate Lisa Poole are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Gordon

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Pearson; Zoe Romain; Lisa Poole


The team at Actons has a broad and in-depth understanding of the complex needs of family businesses, and the nuances associated with these. It works hard to understand the client’s history, objectives and perspectives, and is able to convey advice in a simple and succinct manner

Caroline Pearson is an enjoyable person to work with; she displays a solution- focused approach to her work, which is both refreshing and hugely commercially valuable to the clients she represents. She has a detailed knowledge of agricultural legislation and, importantly, can convey complex advice to farming clients who are not always adept with the mechanics of the job. Her communication and feedback is timely, both verbal and written

The team works extremely well together

Amanda Gordon is undaunted by any challenge or request

Amanda Gordon is readily available, quick to respond to ad hoc queries and extremely efficient in handling transactions. Her advice is reliable and she is utterly dependable in all areas of her work

Lisa Poole is very bright and capable

Lisa Poole is a fantastic ambassador for Actons; she is very thorough and knowledgeable

The team has a very can-do attitude, and a determination to meet deadlines and targets no matter how tight the client’s requirements

Key clients


Vision Homes (Burton Road) Limited

Chevin Group Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the investment purchaser on the acquisition of mixed-use property including two ground floor commercial office units and five student let properties.
  • Acted for Chevin Group on the purchase of a mixed-use property portfolio comprising offices, retail, licensed premises, car park and residential accommodation, with funding from a national lender.
  • Acted for Vision Homes following completion of a development of a number of residential dwellings on a new site.
  • Advising Framework on all aspects of its property acquisitions and development. Recent work included the purchase of a number of properties, including the purchase of existing social housing from the Guinness Housing Association and various property purchases for development for use as future social housing, including a former public house.

Austin Moore & Partners LLP

Vik Moothia, the department head at Austin Moore & Partners LLP, has been practising in the Nottingham legal market for more than 16 years, and has built up a wealth of transactional experience. Under his leadership the firm has become well-known for other work including landlord and tenant matters, property development and property finance. Rachael Briggs is another key partner in the team.

Practice head(s):

Vik Moothia

Other key lawyers:

Rachael Briggs


‘Austin Moore & Partners is a very proactive, responsive and forward-thinking firm, fielding commercial lawyers who do as they say, and in the timescale you agree with them’

‘Vik and the rest of the team are always on the end of the phone. They tell you in straight talk what the issues are’

‘Vic Moothia is a very experienced property lawyer. Rachael Briggs is always available if problems arise’

‘A first-class team, which responds to demands and executes what’s needed precisely and quickly’

Key clients

200 Degrees Coffee Shops Limited

Birds (Derby) Limited

Paragon Property Development Company

Kennelpak Limited

Nu-Energy Limited

Instarmac Holdings Limited

Harmony Bridge Limited

Mr Tajinder Singh Ubhi (and associated companies)

Mr Carl Springthorpe

BS Squared Limited

IH Moore and Company (Holdings Limited)

Mr Gabriel Strauss (and associated companies)

Mr Neil Footitt

Cardzone Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for 200 Degrees Coffee Shop on the acquisition of a new site in the Corn Hill Quarter in Lincoln City Centre.
  • Acted for Harmony Bridge Limited on the site setup of a development of 121 apartments.
  • Advised KLPG Limited on the acquisition of site for development as a chalet park.
  • Acted for CS Properties Limited and Bulcote Investments Limited on the acquisition of 19 freehold and leasehold commercial and residential properties from LPA receivers.
  • Acted for Birds (Derby) Limited on the relocation of its store in Victoria Centre, Nottingham.

Smith Partnership

Smith Partnership handles a varied portfolio of local and national work for clients ranging from growth companies and developers to large privately-held businesses and listed companies. On the development side of the practice, team head Jason Wood has a strong track record advising developers on land acquisitions for residential development, as well as associated financing, and subsequent plot sales. Elsewhere, the firm's other work includes freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, property portfolio management and landlord and tenant work. In addition to undertaking standalone mandates, the team provides support on the property aspects of corporate transactions. Rashid Ali is developing a specialism in the health sector, with an emphasis on matters involving pharmacies. Associate Tara Harding is particularly active in the licensed trade space, where she advises on the acquisition, disposal and letting of licensed premises; clients include hotels, public houses, restaurants and clubs.

Practice head(s):

Jason Wood

Other key lawyers:

Rashid Ali; Tara Harding


The level of service is excellent. Smith Partnership always makes transactions seem personal and friendly, on top of the underlying professionalism that is always a given. Makes legal work (often a dry subject) much more interactive and enjoyable. Other firms can make you feel like just another faceless client queueing for attention, Smith Partnership make you feel that it cares about you and your business

Individual contacts are a pleasure to work with, and always friendly and pleasant. The service is always personable and attentive, and work is turned around swiftly

Reliable, responsive and good value

Rashid Ali is very diligent and proactive

Key clients

Garibaldi Limited

Sovereign Crest Limited

Comex 2000 Limited

Granite Homes Limited

Bridgefast Beech Partnership

Reece Enterprises Limited

Littler Investments Limited

Blueline Homes Limited

HGV Direct

Cromford Group Limited

CT Skills Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Derby Museums on the lease of the Silk Mill, Derby, and the funding of the refurbishment with the assistance of funding from the Arts Council and Big Lottery Fund.
  • Advised Metanodic Engineers Limited on the grant of a lease of factory premises to TJX Ltd (TKMax) for five years.