Social housing in North


Led by housing regeneration specialist Lee Pickett, the Newcastle-based team at DWF sits within the firm’s national housing product group. The practice stands out for its second successive appointment to the panel of Homes England, and also benefits from its panel appointments by sophisticated regional providers. The department undertakes work on a broad scope of housing-related issues, but has carved out a particularly strong reputation for advising on housing regeneration schemes, including social housing delivery.

Practice head(s):

Lee Pickett

Other key lawyers:

Kelly Pearson

Key clients

Homes England

Riverside Group

Places for People Group

Home Group

Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust

Thirteen Housing Group

Ascent Homes (Advance Northumberland)

Sunderland City Council

South Tyneside Council

South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust

Kirklees Council

Imperator Group

Progress Housing Group

North East Procurement Organisation

Calico Homes

Manningham Housing Association

Calderdale Borough Council

West Lindsey District Council

Cornwall Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Places for People on the acquisition of a portfolio of 115 new-build units under a golden brick structure across 12 schemes from Taylor Wimpey, with a social housing grant deployed to provide additional shared ownership dwellings.
  • Assisted Riverside Group with the Auckland Park deal which involved local authority and Homes England grant funding and will see Riverside deliver approximately 100 new affordable homes in the first phase of a large Bishop Auckland development.
  • Advising Kirklees Council in relation to Dewsbury Riverside, an urban extension of 4,000 homes.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP provides the full scope of legal services in relation to both contentious and non-contentious social housing issues. In the non-contentious space, the team is noted for its recent high-value work involving stock rationalisations, large-scale voluntary transfers (LSVTs) and property management matters. In acting for large national and regional providers as well as local authorities, the team is able to rely on the expertise of the firm’s network nationwide. Residential property specialist Nigel Emmerson leads the department.

Practice head(s):

Nigel Emmerson


My experience working with Womble Bond Dickinson’s social housing team has proved invaluable. Its specialist knowledge and practical advice is key in enabling matters to run smoothly; we are able to call on several individuals on different aspects of social housing, such as tax, consultation and property, with all this being integrated. The team is quick to offer solutions to difficult issues and always finds a way to resolve matters.

Key clients

Places for People Homes

Karbon Homes

Accent Housing Group

Westminster City Council

Bernicia Group

Derwent Housing Association


Thirteen Housing Group

Leeds City Council

Home Group

York Housing Association

Cotman Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Acting as lead adviser to Karbon Homes, one of the largest housing associations in the North East, owning and managing over 30,000 homes, in relation to its ongoing development programme.
  • Acting for the Bernicia Group on a range of tenancy management issues including claims to possession, injunctions to tackle anti-social behaviour, committals for breaches of orders, and defending housing disrepair claims.
  • Assisting Accent Housing Group with the sale of the supported living part of its business to another registered provider.

Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway ‘goes the extra mile’ in acting for a variety of registered providers operating on a local, regional and national scale. Julia Thomson and Colin Hewitt lead the practice, which handles matters ranging from development advice to low-cost home ownership disposals. The team can also draw upon the expertise of the firm's Leeds office, where national social housing group leader John Murray is a go-to contact. Fiona Wharton departed to Wrigleys Solicitors LLP .

Practice head(s):

Julia Thomson; Colin Hewitt

Other key lawyers:

Helen O’Neill; Kamran Hyder


The social housing team goes that extra mile – it is always available at the end of a phone line for general advice and assistance.

Work highlights

  • Advised the Bernicia Group on draft development framework documents.
  • Assisted Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust with the transfer of all parks and allotments in Newcastle City to a newly formed trust.
  • Assisted Livin Housing with the land-led development of a large site.