Firms To Watch: Commercial property: Newcastle

Hill Dickinson LLP launched a Newcastle office in July 2022 led by health real estate expert Andrea Proudlock, who joined from DAC Beachcroft LLP.

Commercial property: Newcastle in North

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP has established experience in acting for developers, owners and occupiers on the full scope of real estate mandates and is also increasingly active in the public sector space and in assisting registered providers. The team also has distinct residential development and real estate finance teams and supports the firm’s other departments on corporate and funding deals. Group head Jonathan Combe is a go-to name for development work, while Will McKay and Gail Bennett are active in investment work. James Armstrong is the primary contact for housebuilder clients and recently promoted partner Deborah Lazenby focuses on transactional work.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Combe

Other key lawyers:

Will McKay; Gail Bennett; James Armstrong; Deborah Lazenby

Key clients

McAleer & Rushe

Hays Travel

Home Group

Kans and Kandy (Properties)

Persimmon plc

Mandale Group

NG Bailey

Gentoo Group


Port of Blyth

NCG (Newcastle College Group)

Connection Flooring

Advance Northumberland

Cairn Group

Luxury Leisure

Dysart Group

Amethyst Homes


Believe Housing

Livin Housing

Work highlights

  • Advised McAleer and Rushe on the acquisition of a development site on a high street in Manchester; a freehold development site with consent for over 350,000 sq ft of new build development.
  • Advised Universal Sealants on moving its existing two Sheffield sites into a single bespoke site.
  • Advised Vaulkhard Group on its acquisition of a portfolio of seven Newcastle pubs.

Ward Hadaway LLP

Ward Hadaway LLP’s built environment team provides property clients with the full range of advice, acting for housebuilders, commercial developers, occupiers, investors and public sector clients. The group also has notable experience in the mining and mineral, leisure, industrial, logistics, social housing and charity sectors, and works closely with the firm’s wider corporate, banking and construction teams. Planning specialist Robin Atkin and development expert Lesley Fairclough jointly lead the department, which also includes Heather Markham, who has ‘a keen commercial perspective’, mining and quarry expert Alex Cox, housebuilder contact Sophie Bohill and public sector expert Saji Bratch.

Practice head(s):

Robin Atkin; Lesley Fairclough

Other key lawyers:

Heather Markham; Alex Cox; Sophie Bohill; Saji Bratch; Simon Errington; Alex Wright; Neil Smith; Nick Ghulkor


‘Detailed, diligent and coherent, the commercial property team at Ward Hadaway have an ability to distil information effectively and cut through the legal jargon. They adapt to work with the client and are quickly familiar with internal procedures and processes.’

‘Heather Markham – Heather provides consistently coherent advice and has a keen commercial perspective on all commercial property matters. Neil Smith – Neil is incredibly detailed and diligent in his approach and presents all options in a clear and understandable format.’

‘Ward Hadaway provide excellent advice.’

‘Nick Ghulkor is exceptional and without his assistance we would not be as successful in getting large strategic sites developed. He just gets on with it!’

Key clients

Keepmoat Homes Limited

BDW Trading Limited (Barratt Homes)

Newcastle International Airport Limited

Bannatyne Group

Inn Collection Group

The Northumberland Estates (Duke of Northumberland)

Story Homes Limited

Gleeson Homes

Port of Tyne Authority

Darlington Borough Council

Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is praised by clients as ‘always available to give high-quality advice’, which it provides on the full spectrum of real estate issues including investments, developments and regeneration projects. The group has also recently been active in PRS and build to rent projects and the energy, education, retail and transport sectors. Nigel Emmerson and John Ralph jointly lead the group; Emmerson is focused on the housing and residential investment sector, while Ralph handles transactional and real estate finance work. Michael Brown also handles financial matters, Tom Willows advises on residential development sites, and managing associate Emma Garfit assists with residential investments with a particular focus on Central London properties. John Booth departed to an in-house role.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Emmerson; John Ralph

Other key lawyers:

Michael Brown; Tom Willows; Emma Garfit


‘Good and approachable people who are good to work with and are dependable. Their ability is taken as a given.’

‘John Ralph is the stand-out partner who delivers the goods in a pragmatic, hands-on way to get work done.’

‘Response time and efficiency, going above and beyond.’

‘A wide range of fee earners with expertise across different fields.’

‘Always available to give high-quality advice which understands the commercial considerations that underpin our work.’

‘The team at WBD provide a friendly, efficient service. They are quick to respond and always willing to help.’

‘Nigel Emmerson has developed a deep understanding of our business over the years, and takes time to understand our needs. Where necessary, he is able to bring in subject-matter experts and ensures matters are dealt with in a timely manner.’

Key clients

Grainger plc

Bellway Homes plc

South Tees Development Corporation

The Vista PRS Fund


Aberdeen Standard

Duchy Homes

Southern Railways

Hansteen Holdings plc

Vertu Motors plc

Work highlights

  • Instructed on numerous ongoing projects for South Tees Development Corporation/Teesworks Limited.
  • Acted for a key energy supplier on over 100 individual instructions for Northern Powergrid (Northeast) Plc & Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire) Plc.
  • Advised housebuilder Duchy Homes on acquiring a 16-acre site at the Potters Hill development near Chapelgarth.


DWF’s ‘incredibly strong and experienced’ practice is led by Richard Lomax, while Newcastle office managing partner Adam Heather leads the UK and Ireland real estate operations practice. Lomax is a key name for investment and portfolio transactions, while Heather is active in developments and regeneration projects. The group’s regional and national clients also benefit from the team’s expertise in forward funding developments and knowledge of the retail, energy, mining and port sectors. Other key names include Mark Tait, who acts for investors and developers, and Lee Pickett, who handles housing matters.

Practice head(s):

Adam Heather; Richard Lomax

Other key lawyers:

Mark Tait; Lee Pickett; Kelly Pearson


‘The Real Estate team at DWF’s Newcastle practice continue to provide us with a high level of service for all our commercial and residential matters. The team is incredibly strong and experienced – from the top to the bottom. They are particularly good at internal communication, so that whoever from the team you are speaking to, they are familiar with the file and current status.’

‘Adam Heather brilliantly combines knowledge and experience with excellent interpersonal skills. In my experience, this results in him being respected and liked by the other side and his own clients alike, and great project outcomes.’

‘The real estate team is very responsive and is able to advise on legal risks while keeping the business mindset. Great mix of business approach and academic approach, and anticipates every request the client may have.’

‘Mark Tait is a reliable property lawyer with plenty of experience.’

Key clients

Advance Northumberland

Cable Properties & Investments

Corum XL

Hanro Group

Homes England

The Riverside Group Limited

LXi Reit

Northumberland Estates

Places for People


Squarestone Growth LLP

Hargreaves Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for Northumberland Estates and its group companies across its commercial property portfolio.
  • Advised The Riverside Group on the acquisition of 100 units within a large multi-phased development from a national housebuilder.
  • Acting for Hargreaves Group on the financing of 20 industrial/retail warehouse assets across the South East.

Sintons LLP

Mark Dobbin heads up the group at Sintons LLP, which excels across commercial real estate matters and developments with additional expertise in the healthcare sector, exemplified by the firm’s dedicated NHS real estate team, and further distinct teams handling real estate finance issues, rural property matters, and faith-based instructions; the latter are often led by Laura Peace. At a sector level, the group is recognised for its energy, waste and renewables, retail and leisure industry knowledge. Alok Loomba advises on real estate transactions, Paul Liddle is active in the energy sector, David Ferguson handles finance mandates, and Tom Wills leads the agriculture work.

Practice head(s):

Mark Dobbin

Other key lawyers:

Laura Peace; Alok Loomba; Paul Liddle; David Ferguson; Tom Wills


‘The team is excellent. Very knowledgeable, easily approachable and professional. For many years I have worked with the team and they have been able to navigate through sometimes complex transactions making them as smooth as possible.’

‘Very strong team of highly experienced property specialists.’

‘Mark Dobbin is of the highest quality. He studies contracts in great detail, thinks about how best to resolve issues and negotiates the changes on your behalf whilst maintaining excellent relations with the other party. Brilliant legal mind, impressive negotiating skills, pragmatic, creative and always polite and courteous to all involved. 10/10.’

‘The most proactive legal team I have ever known, rapid response to all communications, very knowledgeable on all property matters including complex sales and purchases, leases etc.’

‘The team are pleasant and friendly under the excellent leadership of Laura Peace.’

Key clients

Crown Care Developments V Limited

Northumberland Estates Developments Limited and Tynemouth Developments Limited

Cussins (North East) Limited

Managing Trustees of the Methodist Church (nationally)

Rosco Property Group Limited (formerly Metnor Property Group Limited)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Northumberland Estate in respect of complex estate set up matters and programme of dealing with the disposal of plots.
  • Acting for an investor client in respect of the acquisition of a city centre hotel investment.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

Aligned with the firm’s wider areas of expertise, the group at DAC Beachcroft LLP excels in the healthcare sector with additional knowledge of the education, logistics and public sectors at a regional and national level; clients include the Department for Education, Newcastle City Council and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Nicola Fairbairn is the key contact for commercial property work.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Fairbairn

Key clients

Department for Education

Surrey County Council

Sunderland City Council

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Newcastle Building Society

Newcastle City Council

Newcastle University

AT Medics

Cygnet Health Care Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Surrey County Council on the £25m sale of its former, listed County Hall premises.
  • Advised Northumberland NHS Foundation Trust on the £10.5m acquisition of the former Procter & Gamble site as the new Manufacturing and Innovation Hub for NHS PPE supplies.
  • Advised Newcastle Building Society on the £2.5m sale of a city centre investment property.

Hay & Kilner

Hay & Kilner’s practice has recently been bolstered by the arrival of John Morgan and his team from Cook Taylor Woodhouse in early 2022; Morgan is a key contact for commercial property finance, investment and development mandates. Practice head Nicola Tiffen covers a broad range of real estate work with particular knowledge of the care home sector, and the wider group supports the firm’s corporate team on the property elements of corporate acquisitions and disposals.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Tiffen

Other key lawyers:

John Morgan

Key clients

Park Lane Healthcare

Dallas Carpets Limited

Westway Vets

Hellens Group

Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Anvil Homes

Power by Britishvolt Properties Limited

Chartres Investment Limited

Lambert Smith Hampton Group

Homefair Blinds (UK) Limited

Rosewood Bespoke Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised Power by Britishvolt Properties Limited on various property transactions including the purchase of substantial office premises, options to purchase, lease arrangements and ancillary licence documentation.
  • Acting for Northumberland Wildlife Trust Limited on the purchase of a piece of land at Druridge Bay from regeneration specialist Howarth Group.
  • Acting for Westway Veterinary Centres Limited and the wider Vets Partner Company in connection with its various veterinary premises.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP is notably experienced in the commercial property space but has recently expanded its presence in residential investment matters. Ryan Bannon heads up the department and has expertise in real estate developments, acting for owners of large property portfolios, property investors and developers.

Practice head(s):

Ryan Bannon

Other key lawyers:

Jordan Down; Leanne Kettlewell


‘All team members worked together to achieve a successful outcome. Faced with complications from large national corporate entities and a difficult superior landlord, the team resolved all issues in a timely & professional manner. As clients we were kept updated of all progress, and could understand the difficulties and resolutions being proposed.’

‘Leanne Kettlewell has been fantastic to work with. Being a complete novice when it comes to legal issues in regards to leases she has talked me through all problems I’ve dealt with in a patient and comprehensive manner. She has always been available via email and phone and I can’t thank her enough for her help.’

‘Ryan Bannon’s knowledge of the commercial world is second to none and the trust that we have in him knows no bounds. He always handles each transaction extremely well and we would be at a loss without him. He makes you feel part of the team and explains all situations simply. It is obvious that Jordan Down has been well trained by Ryan as his attributes are as good as Ryan’s. If for any reason I cannot speak to Ryan then Jordan is by no means second best. I get the same help and advice from Jordan as I would from Ryan and we have as much confidence in him as we have in Ryan. A great team.’

‘The individuals showed professionalism and tenacity at all times. The service offered value for money, and all team members put our commercial interests at the forefront of the negotiations.’

‘Responsive and professional they make an effort to understand the issue and provide clear legal advice and options.’

‘Ryan Bannon and his assistant Jordan Down are our main contacts at Mincoffs regarding Commercial Property. They have both recent handled a number of transactions for the company which was carried out both diligently and professionally. No problem was an issue to them.’

‘Approachable solicitors with a great commercial approach. Really great communication and nothing is too much trouble.’

‘Ryan Bannon – I am always able to get hold of him when needed, nothing is too much trouble. If he thinks I need to be updated on a new piece of legislation and or case law that will help with our sector he always offers it up in clear and concise language. He does not over negotiate but is aware what is truly important to his clients.’

Key clients

Northern Bear PLC

The Lugano Group

LB Foster Europe

The Works Stores

Fun Fest Franchising

Danielli Holdings Limited

Jules B Limited

Derwent Manor Ventures Limited

British Engines Limited

Energy Compare Limited

Onitt Limited

Redfern Properties Limited

Preston Cherry LLP

Victors Restaurants Ltd

Ash Aggarwal Pharmacy

The Cairn Group

Welcome Health Pharmacies Limited

UK Docks Marine Services

Work highlights

  • Acted for Danieli Holdings, helping to accomplish the “Stack” container villages, which provide a variety of local independent shops, street food operates, bars and live entertainment.
  • Advised Northern Bear Plc on a number of matters including a complex lease of a new flagship sales depot on the Team Valley Trading Estate for its subsidiary, A1 Industrial Trucks.
  • Acting for Preston Cherry LLP on its sale of Q5 Quorum Business Park, Tyne & Wear, a four storey multi-let office building extending to circa 72,000 square feet for over £5m.


Weightmans’ sectoral expertise encompasses matters in the infrastructure, energy, education, retail, leisure and social housing industries, and the practice is also a key name for housebuilder clients. Key names in Newcastle include principal associate Helen Warren, who handles landlord and tenant matters. David Tabinor oversees the practice from Liverpool.

Practice head(s):

David Tabinor

Other key lawyers:

Helen Warren

Key clients

Morton Group / Lok Developments

Bellway Homes

Engie Regeneration / Power

Camerons Brewery Limited

Gentoo Housing Group

Unity Trust Bank

Quattro Property Group