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Commercial property: Liverpool in North West

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's practice continues to lead the market for property development and investment work, acting for the region's major clients as well as a national client base. The team is led by Alison Mills who is known for her development work in the student  accommodation co-living sector. Mark Beardwood, the firm's North West office managing partner,  regularly advises on high value real estate transactions. The highly experienced Philip Rooney represents local authorities as well as investment institutions, while Richard Thompson  offers expertise on investment mandates. Richard Ascroft is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Alison Mills


‘Long-term staff retention means they have a strong team who work well together – the real estate team is capable of dealing with all matters efficiently.’

‘DLA’s online document storage system is excellent.’

Key clients

Universities Superannuation Scheme

CBRE Global Investors

Heineken UK

Downing Developments

Liverpool Football Club

John Lewis Partnership Pension Fund

Picton Capital

St James Place UK Plc

Elan Homes

USF Nominees

Pace Trustees Limited

London Borough of Southwark Pension Fund

MRC Pension Trust

Radisson Hotels

Schroder Real Estate Managers

Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Downing Developments on the acquisition of a complex development site at First Street Manchester which will ultimately comprise 950,000 square feet of co-living accommodation including 50,000 square feet of amenity space.
  • Advised longstanding client Liverpool Football Club on their sale of the historic training ground at Melwood for redevelopment as housing.
  • Advised USS, acting on their behalf as landlord in relation to the demolition of the former buildings on the site and subsequent redevelopment and letting of a new custom built bus depot in Southall for Abellio.

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP's team provides a broad range of real estate expertise with three highly experienced partners leading the practice. Richard Roberts heads up the investment and property management group which acts for retailers and landowners. Iain Gamble leads the development team, which is active on high-profile work such as Peel's flagship Liverpool Waters waterfront site in the city centre. Meanwhile, Rupert Jackson offers expertise as the head of the agricultural and residential property team. Associate Kevin Manley represents a broad range of clients including pension funds, property investment companies and retailers.

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Manley

Key clients

Peel Land & Property

McColls Retail Group

Peel Ports Group


Home Bargains

Cityheart Developments


Arnold Clark

NWF Group

Liverpool FC

Alpha Leisureplex Group

James Hall & Co (trading as Spar in the North)

Downing Group



Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool

Pavers Shoes

Real Good Food Group

Appreciate Group plc (formerly Park Group)

ION Property Developments

Williams Tarr

Promenade Estates

Work highlights

  • Acting for NWF on an agreement for lease and lease in relation to a new 12 year lease of a new build 240,000sq ft warehouse known as Crewe 240 at Crewe Commercial Park, Basford, Crewe.
  • Acted for Glenbrook (the developer of a 19 storey hotel and approximately 420 build-to-rent apartments at the former Yorkshire Post office in Leeds City Centre) by negotiating a conditional agreement for lease to facilitate the above development.
  • Acted for Primark on the development of a new store at Ventura Retail Park, Tamworth. Our role was to provide both practical and legal advice in relation to the development and new lease of the store. This included negotiating a development agreement for lease, lease and other ancillary documents and providing advice on the building contract, appointment and warranties.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP has a 'very capable team' of lawyers who display expertise across range of sectors including healthcare, retail and logistics. Alex McCann leads the practice and works on property development matters. He is supported by David Swaffield who has a 'vast knowledge of transaction-based commercial business' with particular experience in the logistics sector. Martyn McDonald leads on retail related work for the firm. Amanda Hurst leads the healthcare property team, counting NHS trusts among her key clients.

Practice head(s):

Jim Purves; Alex McCann

Other key lawyers:

David Swaffield; Amanda Hurst


‘A very capable team who clearly work together and share knowledge; no sense of any dividing walls crossing transactional, litigation or building and construction. We have utilised all sectors.’

‘David Swaffield has vast knowledge of transaction-based commercial business, with an ability to see those issues that might affect value or timescale. Refreshingly light hearted with a steely approach to the important aspect of the advice being offered.’

Key clients

Co-operative Group

Peel Group

Liverpool City Council

Kuehne + Nagel

First Group

National Express Group

Iceland Foods


Mason Partners

Signature Living

Legacie Developments

Cammell Laird Shipbuilders

United Utilities

Electricity North West

Greenwich Leisure

Lloyds Banking Group

Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Universities Hospital Trust

Health Education England

North West Ambulance NHS Trust

Work highlights

  • Acting for Peel on the £200m Wirral Waters scheme, the largest regeneration project in the UK.
  • Advised consortium of investors on the £30m sale of the historic Triumph Business Park in Liverpool.
  • Exchanged over 40 agreements for lease for new food stores in past year for leading retailer Co-op.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP undertakes both regional and national work for a range of clients including prominent retailers, including commercial regeneration and residential property work for national housebuilders. The team is jointly lead by David Tabinor and Janice Weatherly. Tabinor provides estate management advice and advice on freehold and leasehold transactions, while Weatherly is active in the private and public sectors but particularly noted for her work on higher education real estate matters. Christopher Grady specialises in residential property development, working for both regional and national developers.


‘We have worked with Weightmans on real estate matters over a number of years now, and have always found their advice both technically correct and commercially sound with a good  understanding of our business. Relationships are important to us, as we think continuity of engagement, and knowledge of our business needs leads to a better and more cost efficient service.’

‘We like a partner service which is what Weightmans offer in all disciplines, and at sensible partner rates, always accessible at short notice Janice Weatherly has handled all of our matters with commercial nous, and expertise, and is an excellent practitioner.’

Key clients

Royal Mail Group

British Steel Limited

Liverpool City Council

Denbighshire County Council

Pure Leisure Group


NW Reserve Forces and Cadets Association

Acorn Developments (Kirkby) Limited

Dibbin Estates Limited

Cumbria University

Solent University

Work highlights

  • Advising Liverpool City Council on Paddington Village, which is being developed in three phases.
  • Advising Denbighshire County Council on several transactions, including development agreements for leisure and hospitality phases and funding documentation, including lease-back arrangements.
  • Representing British Steel on property management work.


DWF has a 'strong regional team with national coverage' which acts for a range of public and private sector clients in sectors including retail, leisure and residential, handling development and asset management work. Julie Simms leads the real estate team; she has expertise in acting on regeneration projects in the public sector. More broadly, her clients include landlords, developers and property companies. Helen Thomas provides 'great commercial advice', and has experience with portfolio management.

Practice head(s):

Julie Simms

Other key lawyers:

Helen Thomas


‘Great breadth of legal services and commercial advice across several offices.’

‘A strong regional team with national coverage, which aligns with the strength of the team in the rest of the business. Strong retail property team.’

‘Helen Thomas provides great commercial advice, has a pragmatic approach to getting deals done and works at pace with our fast-moving business.’

Key clients

Wirral Council

Wigan Council

Homes England

Liverpool City Council



Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Unity Trust Bank plc

Work highlights

  • Instructed to act on an exclusive basis for Costa in England Wales and Scotland in relation to all property construction and planning matters including acquisitions, disposals, estate management and real estate litigation.
  • Acting for Wigan Council in relation to the largest strategic housing site in the North West with up to 1,800 homes and part of a major link road between M6 and M61 advising on grant funding agreements, conditional sale contracts, non-development buy back, option agreements, maintenance of Public Open Space and a variety of other development documents.
  • Advising Homes England on the sale to Liverpool City Council of the iconic 600,000 sq ft King’s Dock as prime waterfront development site to enable a major mixed-used development.

Freeths LLP

The 'extremely commercial and forward thinking' Freeths LLP possesses a bench of 'highly skilled and experienced' practitioners who handle a spread of real estate finance, development and real estate investment. Andrew Nichol who heads the team, is 'a key differentiator and asset to the firm.' He is a specialist in real estate finance and investment matters and founded the Liverpool office in 2018 after joining from DWFLuke Hopkins is another key member of the team, who 'understands a wide range of issues, no matter how complex', and has a track record of work in real estate finance.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Nichol

Other key lawyers:

Luke Hopkins


‘Quite simply, the Liverpool office of Freeths is the best team of lawyers I have dealt with, and I deal with many. Highly skilled and experienced, and most importantly, fantastic communicators and collaborators, which is obviously essential in terms of completing transactions. They have confidence in their own ability which provides a degree of pragmatism that is essential to operate in today’s market.’

‘The team is led by Andrew Nichol who is the key differentiator and asset to the firm.’

‘They are an extremely commercial and forward-thinking firm. The members are very proactive and have incredible experience based from exposure during their time in large commercial practices.’

‘Andrew Nichol provides a depth of knowledge and experience which he bring to all transactions thereby simplifying the process enormously. He has a practical and pragmatic approach which allows him to cut through much of the difficult negotiations with ease.’

‘Luke Hopkins is a commercial solicitor who understands a wide range of issues no matter how complex in his chosen field. He deals with obstacles pragmatically and in a commercial manner, finding solutions and not simply highlighting problems.’

‘Without doubt my go-to team for any property related transactions.’

Key clients

Illiad Group

Crossfield Group

Nicholson Group

Braithwaite Group

Trophy Homes Group

Mittty Group

Ghosh Medical Limited

Castle Homes Group

Childwall Table and Chair Hire

Cheshire Estate and Legal Limited

C O’Dea Property Services Limited

CDM Investments Limited

Pumpfield Road

Developments Limited

West Tree Estates Limited

Roubaix Group

Pure Residential and Commercial

McComb Property Company Ltd

Lloyds Bank plc

Handelsbanken plc

Santander UK plc

Work highlights

  • Representing Doric Whitechapel Limited (Iliad Group) in its granting of a lease of 9-11 Whitechapel, Liverpool.
  • Representing Cheshire Estate and Legal Limited in its taking of a lease of 12th floor Chapel Street, Liverpool.
  • Acting for Hanvit Limited in the refinance of a portfolio of 22 buy to let residential properties involving 10 lenders.


DTM Legal LLP is a 'highly effective law firm specialising in real estate', counting landlords, tenants, developers and investors as clients. Head of team Anna  Duffy is 'very attentive' and goes the 'extra mile', and has decades of experience as a commercial property practitioner. She is also a board member of Professional Liverpool’s Regeneration and Development group, which aims to improve the city's development. Senior associate Isabel  Rial has worked on mixed use developments and contributes her expertise on landlord and tenant work. Robert Harris

Practice head(s):

Anna Duffy

Other key lawyers:

Isabel Rial; Robert Harris


‘DTM Legal are a small but highly effective law firm specialising in real estate and property. They are highly approachable.’

‘Very knowledgeable and up to date with the latest law developments providing the best and most secure advice. We are a client of several years receiving same excellent level of service throughout.’

‘I found Anna Duffy as head of the team very attentive and helpful in going that extra mile to satisfy. The way the practice is structured makes the interacting between departments work effectively.’

‘Anna Duffy and Richard Thomas support our business through a variety of different issues. Every issue has been managed successfully in our favour.’

‘Prompt and personal service.’

‘We have worked with Robert Harris for many years; he always makes himself available, and is very efficient and reliable.’

‘The DTM team are friendly, commercial and respond quickly to requests and instructions, something not often found in larger practices.’

‘Robert Harris provides excellent service and advice that is always reassuring, positive and protects our family’s interests.’

Key clients

The Atmore Group

Carpenters Investments

The Windmill Group

AAH Pharmaceuticals Limited

Handelsbanken Liverpool

Morbaine Limited

Quality Freight

Willan Investments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Atmore on the grant of a lease at annual rent in excess of half a million pounds to Metro Bank.
  • Advising Atmore Developments on the sale of the freehold interest to Metro Bank.
  • Advising the City & County Properties on the sale of the freehold reversionary interest in a small shopping centre.

MSB Solicitors

MSB Solicitors Ltd is prominent for development and regeneration work, working with clients in the leisure and hospitality sectors. Neil Kelly leads the team and is strong in residential development work, acting for national developers. He works in tandem with Brad Armstrong, who advises clients on the acquisition of development sites across the country.

Practice head(s):

Neil Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Brad Armstrong

Key clients

X1 Developments Limited No

Redwood Bank Ltd Yes

Penny Lane Builders Limited No

Oakwood Group No

Gemini Finance Ltd No

White Rhino Capital No

Mowgli No

Rock Capital No

Signature Living No

Young Homes Yes

Community Housing (UK) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Gemini Finance on a development finance loan of £2.4m to a developer on a part- built development site of 20 detached houses.
  • Advised X1 Developments on the acquisition of development site at Media City, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester.
  • Advised X1 on the development funding for development project in Manchester.