Commercial property: Essex in South East

Birkett Long LLP

The commercial property offering at Birkett Long LLP benefits from the combined expertise of co-leads Emma Wraight and Simon Green. The team covers areas such as security work, landlord/tenant disputes and banking matters. In addition, it has consolidated a solid reputation in relation to healthcare and education (specifically academy conversions) where it has a substantive client list. The firm also covers leasing matters, notably in relation to the industrial, retail and office sectors. Melanie Bache is recommended for complex and high-value work. For cases incorporating development land issues (including conditional sale contracts, option agreements and s106), Justin Stock is the name to note.      

Practice head(s):

Emma Wraight; Simon Green

Other key lawyers:

Melanie Bache; Justin Stock

Testimonials

The importance of local knowledge cannot be overstated, and Birkett Long’s long history in this part of Essex is key. Everyone we have dealt with over many years, whether in the matter of drawing up wills and dealing with estates, to buying and selling houses, to complex promotion agreements regarding the sale of land for building has been highly professional and efficient as well as pleasant and courteous and a pleasure to deal with‘.

They offer a personal, friendly service where they understand the customers requirements and set out in easy terms for the customer the process, timelines and costs involved. They are easy and readily available to take to and they keep you informed of the process‘.

Extremely responsive, courteous and helpful in all respects. The partner is always available for an informal conversation which you don’t always get with alternative firms. Very transparent with billing, seeking permission to proceed when early estimates are exceeded‘.

Emma Wraight is very helpful, professional and fair‘.

Melanie Bache is very easy to get hold of, seems to give priority to our work, is friendly and relaxed and most importantly has a way of summarising potential issues in a practical way‘.

They are very approachable, and very easy to communicate with. Always available. Simon Green is particularly helpful‘.

Key clients

Southdowns Village Limited

Lloyds Bank Plc

Minchenden Limited

Shareholders of Cognitran Limited

Work highlights

  • Completed an international share sale on behalf of the shareholders of Cognitran Limited for $31m.
  • Acted for Colchester Institute  in respect of all real estate matters relating to their five campus sites. This included telecommunication mast work, landlord and tenant, sales and acquisitions, wayleaves and easements, options and financing.
  • Assisted Lloyds Bank Plc on various types of refinancing deals, often with tight timescales and for high values.

Birketts LLP

Strategic land expertise is one of the defining features of the commercial property team at Birketts LLP. Specifically, this covers promotion, option agreements and contracts conditional on planning consent. In addition, the firm's work for housebuilders includes everything from acquisition to plot sales (and benefits from its experience in regional development issues). Clients can also source legal assistance for various concerns surrounding both investment and portfolio management. Team lead Grace Kerr, an acquisitions and disposals expert, undertakes mainstream sector work while Steven Kay is widely recognised for his industry credentials. Matthew Grindley is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Grace Kerr

Other key lawyers:

Steven Kay; Matthew Grindley

Testimonials

Birketts have helped us for may years to lease units at our industrial site. When we came to sell it the team were always available to guide and give advice and helped us conclude the deal in a timely manner with the minimum amount of drama‘.

A detailed and comprehensive understanding of all facets of commercial property transactions. The ability to convey advice to a spectrum of client capabilities‘.

All the individuals at Birketts go above and beyond and work together seamlessly as a team. Matthew Grindley is our main contact and is available with advice whenever needed‘.

Key clients

Jordan Inc Limited

Provide Community Interest Company

Broadwall Properties Limited

Bolloré Logistics UK Limited

Folie Restaurant Limited

Westdrive Group

Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Assisted with the acquisition of a portfolio of operational care homes in north Essex, drawing on a range of expertise across the Chelmsford office but with a particular emphasis on property acquisition.
  • Orchestrated the acquisition of an industrial estate in Chelmsford for the purposes of regenerative development.

Ellisons Solicitors

Ellisons Solicitors' commercial property team is known for its work in acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures and consortium agreements. Managing partner Guy Longhurst  deals with the acquisition and disposal of residential and development sites, while team lead Philip Roberts handles the full spectrum of sector transactions. Well-regarded senior associate Wendy Martin joined from Holmes & Hills.

Practice head(s):

Philip Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Guy Longhurst

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP

Based in Colchester, Ellen Petersen-Clark leads the commercial property team at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP. Specialising in complex transactions, the practice caters for clients in industries such as healthcare, farming, finance, haulage and property development. In addition, the firm is known for handling a substantial portfolio of charity work, often assisting third sector interests with acquisition and Charities Act advice. Leon Pascal focuses on investment, development and secured lending work (where he regularly handles instructions concerning with disposals and re-financing). Louise Smith works on high value leases for a variety of hospital sites.

Practice head(s):

Ellen Petersen-Clark

Tees Law

The 2019 merger of Tees Law  and Wortley Byers created a significantly enhanced commercial property offering. The practice is jointly led by the 'in demandAaron Cane  - who has experience of multimillion-pound regeneration projects and is recommended for portfolio management work - and Mark Carter, who acts for a large number of businesses, landowners and farmers. The 'knowledgeable and helpful' Jane Winfield is known for acquisitions and disposals and is a recognised specialist in landlord and tenant matters. The team's client base includes an array of major agribusiness and utility companies.

Practice head(s):

Aaron Cane; Mark Carter

Other key lawyers:

Jane Winfield

Testimonials

Unrivalled level of service from an expert team‘.

I found using Tees Law a very good experience, they were always on hand to answer questions – I would definitely use again‘.

The team are always happy to provide updates to the agents and client throughout a transaction which is useful in keeping matters progressing swiftly. I personally find that this is not always common practice among some of the other firms we deal with‘.

Extremely professional, competitive rates and top rate service‘.

Jane Winfield was outstanding in what was a complicated situation and worked tirelessly to see the job through. Jane made everything very clear from day one and we knew we were in good hands‘.

Jane Winfield was particularly very knowledgeable and helpful in her handling of the matter in hand. She was able to explain every action and procedure and its effects.‘.

The service levels provided by Jane Winfield in particular are impressive‘.

Aaron Cane is the very top of the list. Superior excellence in his knowledge of commercial property – he looks after his clients and is very much in demand‘.

Key clients

Northumbrian Water Limited

Great Baddow Parish Council

Holmes & Hills

Representing major landowners and developers, the commercial property team at Holmes & Hills is led by 'passionate and professional' corporate and commercial head Rebecca Mason. The team has a broad spread of expertise, handling matters including lease extensions for residential freeholders as well as enfranchisement for leaseholders structured as companies. Clients are drawn from industries such as farming, regional commerce, retail and fast food. Michael Wright is recommended for cases with an international dimension while Philippa Jerram is noted for her agricultural knowledge.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Mason

Other key lawyers:

Michael Wright; Philippa Jerram

Testimonials

The solicitors specialising in commercial property that I have had the pleasure of working with at Holmes & Hills are contactable and approachable. They offer clear and concise explanations when needed, and are proactive and forward thinking in their approach, which is great for our mutual clients‘.

Holmes & Hills have acted for our company and myself personally for over 10 years. When initially instructing Holmes and Hills we were newcomers to the area and it became apparent very quickly that the firm had an excellent understanding of local matters – and politics. They also have a very wide spread of legal expertise which makes for seamless problem solving‘.

The commercial property team are extremely approachable and show a real care for their clients. This and their personal approach to matters means they are a pleasure to work with. They have a broad range of knowledge and are able to ensure that advice is joined up with other disciplines within their business‘.

I have had most involvement with Rebecca Mason, who is competent, reliable, and very easy to work with. She has put together complex option agreements for our mutual clients, and worked well as part of a team of solicitors who put together an option agreement that is entirely bespoke and quite unlike any others that we have negotiated before‘.

I have worked with Rebecca Mason, head of their corporate and commercial property teams, on a number of matters in the past few years. She lives and breathes all of the values of Holmes & Hills. She is passionate about the firm and helping its clients, personal with both clients and contacts, and professional. I have also worked with Philippa Jerram on a number of matters and she demonstrates that same values as Rebecca and is extremely competent in her expert field‘.

Rebecca Mason and her team are proactive in ensuring their clients are getting good advice, are considering all aspects of their affairs and have the support they need to succeed. I have always found both Rebecca and her colleague Philippa Jerram a pleasure to work with and thoroughly engaged with the matters being discussed. They clearly take on board comments raised and work to ensure that the client is well informed and thoroughly looked after‘.

Philippa Jerram at Holmes & Hills has been our permanent contact and acted for us in both lease preparation, development planning as well as the sale of assets. Our main interest however is in planning and property development for which Philippa has provided a highly experienced service and comprehensive advice. Philippa and Holmes & Hills are fundamental to our business strategy and aspirations within the North Essex area. We would not consider using any other legal practice within this region‘.

Rebecca Mason has a great empathy with her clients. Philippa Jerram is very on the ball and quick to respond‘.

Key clients

Mackman Ltd

Liston Trading Company Limited

Assington Fruits Limited

PG Bones Limited

Silk Industries Limited

Long Melford Parish Council

Taylor Milburn Ltd

Colchester United Hospitality Ltd

Epic Properties Ltd

Gainsborough’s House

Hills Residential Construction Ltd

Ingatestone & Fryerning Parish Council

RWH Properties Ltd

Mersea Homes Ltd

Pauline Hennessey (Care home property operator & landowner)

Rose Builders (Properties) Ltd

SJJ Properties LLP

Tiptree Parish Council

Wilkin & Sons Ltd (Tiptree Jam)

Joscelyn Chase

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors

The commercial property offering at Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors attracts a wide variety of clients from Hertfordshire, Essex and London. Led by Nick Evans, it caters for the interests of developers, landlords, local authorities, business tenants, investors and charities. Areas of law covered include: acquisitions and development (including plot sales), secured lending, corporate support and planning.

Practice head(s):

Nick Evans

Key clients

Handelsbanken

Volker Fitzpatrick

BTMK Solicitors

Lee Emptage (Rayleigh), Ian Powell (Southend) and Matthew Clark (Southend) lead the commercial property team at BTMK Solicitors. Notably, it has specific experience in relation to rights of light (where it acts on behalf of developers on purported infringements). More broadly, the team handles matters such as lease extensions, leasehold enfranchisement and the preparation of options agreements. The firm's client portfolio features high-net-worth individuals, SMEs, commercial lenders, and SIPPs.

Key clients

Randall Watts Construction

Waste-a-Way Recycling/Clearaway Recycling

Witham Nelson Investments

Gilmore Jacobs Ltd

Heritage Rocks Group

Glenfield Real Estate

Right of Light Consulting

Sovereign Property Holdings

Essex Boatyards

Valentines Property Investments

Work highlights

  • Advised Valentines Property Investments Ltd in relation to the refinancing of a portfolio of 51 properties with three separate lenders.  
  • Advised Randall Watts Construction Ltd regarding the refinancing of two blocks of flats.
  • Advised Witham Nelson in relation to a sale of land to a developer subject to planning permission.

Jefferies Essex LLP

With 30 years' experience, Southend on Sea-based Mark Hidveghy heads the commercial property team at Jefferies Essex LLP. His experience includes advice on the sale and purchases of hotels, factories, public houses and shopping centres. More broadly, the firm's offering caters for regional and nationwide clients and supports local firms as well as international trust companies. Katrina HollandAmelia Hayes and Helen Martin, a recent hire, are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Mark Hidveghy

Testimonials

A friendly, accommodating firm‘.

Expertise in all areas of law that I have ever needed‘.

Katrina Holland, Amelia Hayes and Helen Martin are the standout characters‘.

Work highlights

  • Represented a buyer purchasing two mills for £600,000.00 subject to planning permission being obtained for a residential development
  • Represented a landlord granting lease of part of their hotel car park to a car charging station and also a separate substation lease to UK Power Networks Plc.
  • Acted for a development company in the proposed acquisition of a new development site, including advising and negotiating the terms of an overage deed and acting on their bridging finance arrangements.

Meaby & Co

Providing strategic advice on a wide range of transactions, the commercial property offering at Meaby & Co covers matters including acquisitions, development and financing, and is well-regarded for its ability to handle 'complex, high-value deals more typical of a City law firm'. Overseen by the 'meticulous' Nicky Cleightonhills, its client base consists of lenders, borrowers, pension funds and investors based both in the UK and offshore.

Practice head(s):

Nicky Cleightonhills

Testimonials

Meaby & Co provide a high bar of professionalism through an experienced team with a service that is transparent and always efficient. Communication is my priority when using conveyancing solicitors and this is provided by the dynamic team at Meaby & Co‘.

Meaby and Co are highly professional, efficient and comprehensive in their consideration, advice and guidance‘.

Meaby’s team can handle complex high value deals more typical of a City law firm, which is why we cross-refer matters to them in circumstances where we cannot act ourselves. It is always more conducive to a smooth transaction to deal with someone who is experienced in the type of matter at hand. All of the members of the team are good humoured‘.

I was impressed by the professionalism of Nicky Cleightonhills (who was my main point of contact). Having entered into a large number of commercial leases with various firms acting I can recommend her lucidity, and especially her attention to detail‘.

Nicky Cleightonhills has the experience and confidence to provide all relevant options at any stage. Everything is communicated in an informed but easy to comprehend manner, taking any stress out of the situation. In stark contrast to many in the industry I have worked with before, Nicky always provides a slick and informed service that I have and will pass on as a recommendation‘.

Nicky Cleightonhills is consistently readily available, invariably understands our requirements and expedites with a no nonsense execution‘.

Nicky Cleightonhills is very efficient, pragmatic and flexible in approach. Nicky recently acted for a lender on an option and overage agreement in respect of a multimillion-pound development site, where my firm acted for the developer. It was not an easy transaction but Nicky came up with practical solutions to legal issues which helped us get it over the line and she is now our fist choice property lawyer for cross-referrals to other firms, in circumstances where we cannot act ourselves‘.

Mullis & Peake LLP

Led by Joanne Wood, the commercial property team at Mullis & Peake LLP  has extensive experience in the acquisition and disposal of development sites. In addition, it provides advice on commercial landlord and tenant issues as well as residential estate management. Shelley Fitzpatrick works exclusively in leasehold extension and enfranchisement while Andrew Fidler is an expert in commercial land transactions.

Practice head(s):

Joanne Wood

Testimonials

I deal with the commercial and residential property team on various matters on a regular basis. I find the team’s knowledge and experience second to none. It’s a pleasure to deal with them: they genuinely care for their clients‘.

Extremely personal service, easily reachable and happy to answer any questions that may pop up during the process. I think Mullis & Peake’s strength lies in having well-trained staff with a ‘can-do’ attitude‘.

A traditionally well regarded practice. This particular team is efficient and accurate‘.

Joanne Wood is extremely efficient and helpful in explaining procedures. Joanne always advises us well and brings our attention to points we didn’t know about. She has a very pleasant manner‘.

I have dealt with Joanne Wood and Shelley Fitzpatrick for years now and find them standout staff. They take the time to listen to our requirements then once instructed respond promptly and with that extra care that inspires confidence‘.

We have worked with Shelley Fitzpatrick from the leasehold team in numerous instances and were always impressed with the quality of work delivered. Knowledge and the speediness are crucial in leasehold matters and Mullis & Peake has shown that they have these qualities‘.

Shelley Fitzpatrickis is always approachable and knowledgeable. She works efficiently but will always take time to listen to her client’s needs. If unavailable, she always returns calls or replies to emails which helps to reduce stress when dealing with legal matters‘.

Palmers

The commercial property team at Palmers is co-led by Carey Jacobs and Sean Callaghan. Respectively, they specialise in insolvency and the negotiation of complex leases. In addition, the recruitment of Richard Jennings (formerly of Basildon Borough Council) has strengthened the offering in relation to local authority work, large-scale private sector portfolio management and general estates work. Maisie Yau is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Carey Jacobs; Sean Callaghan

Other key lawyers:

Richard Jennings; Maisie Yau

Testimonials

Very informative and helpful with all matters in dealing with real estate transactions‘.

Palmers offers a bespoke service very much tailored to a highly personal service. Concise and easily explained issues means that reasoned decisions can be made without risk‘.

The team offer a very personal, experienced and knowledgeable service and operate in a plain-English manner that helps you understand exactly what’s going on, what needs to happen and why‘.

The commercial property team is tight and well-managed so even if a member is away I’m sure that my queries will be answered swiftly and knowledgeably. Their assured and down to earth approach ensures we do not get lost in the minor details, while their depth of knowledge and commercial sense ensures those minor details are never missed‘.

Carey Jacobs and Maisie Yau are always assertive and push to get the legal matters dealt with in the most effective and pleasant way. They inform us of any issues and items needing clarification and are the most helpful practice we have ever dealt with. Very caring people‘.

From our dealings with Carey Jacobs we have found her to be able to provide detailed pertinent advice in a way that it is clear and simple for us to consider despite our limited legal experience‘.

Carey Jacobs is a stand-out partner – she is truly commercial, highly knowledgeable in real estate, a stickler for detail and always working to ensure we are completely satisfied. We have come back again and again over more than a decade and have never been disappointed as we always receive a high quality service‘.

Maisie Yau doesn’t miss a trick, she also makes a complex subject matter easy to understand for the uneducated. This makes the whole process smooth and easy to follow. She also seems to be one step ahead of the opposition as it were. To that end both lease negotiations have ended been concluded with everything in our favour. Maisie is friendly and approachable, which makes dealing with her a positive experience‘.

Work highlights

  • Advised an established property developer in the purchase of a commercial site and its development into five retail units with 44 residential flats above, with a gross development value of £12m.
  • Acted in the property aspects of urgent solvent restructuring matters for a leading UK firm of accountants and business advisers.
  • Advised a high-net-worth group of companies on the property aspects of a complex corporate restructuring involving the refinance and transfer or a property portfolio valued at around £74.5m.

Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP

Individuals, businesses and financial institutions call on the services of the 'friendly and approachable' commercial property team at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP. Jointly led by Mark Deans and Wendy Cole, it covers areas such as finance security documents, joint ventures, option agreements and tenancy issues. In addition, acquisitions (whether for owner occupiers, investors or developers) are all catered for.

Practice head(s):

Mark Deans; Wendy Cole

Testimonials

The team are very accessible and will give you an assessment of your case and costs early on so that you can then proceed with your decision as to how to go forward. They are able to react quickly to urgent situations.’

‘Friendly and approachable from the receptionist through to the solicitors‘.

Some of the matters I ask them to deal with are quite arduous but they deal with them excellently. I am not the easiest client to deal with, I am sure, but they handle my matters very capably and professionally‘.

Pinney Talfourd LLP

Handling both on and offshore transactions, the commercial property team at Pinney Talfourd LLP is led by Julien Pritchard. Known for his work in the  industrial, agricultural and financial sectors, he specialises in high-value land transactions, landlord/tenant work and the development and promotion of deals. More broadly, the firm has experience dealing with properties held in pension funds and continues to cover SIPP and SASS-based work.

Practice head(s):

Julien Pritchard

Testimonials

The team are helpful, understanding, listen well and give advice suitable to your business needs‘.

This firm provides a full range of services; with excellent team leaders in each department. Communication standards are of an excellent standard‘.

Julien Pritchard is knowledgeable; immensely capable; experienced and leads his team in such a way that deadlines are met on time. Julien is always able to pick up the phone to talk whenever the need arises‘.

Julien Pritchard is great. He is always available. Always able to give sound advice and considers the business model that I operate in and why things might be different to commercial properties‘.

Key clients

Keech Hospice Care

Berwen Limited

Racefold Limited

Kiani Property Investments Ltd

Fore Street Investments Limited

Work highlights

  • Prepared and negotiated a promotion agreement dealing with approximately 15 acres of agricultural land. Acting on behalf of the landowner with a potential gross yield of up to £15m.
  • Acted for an offshore company based in the British Virgin Islands dealing with the hive down of a portfolio of properties (valued at circa £7.5m) back to an onshore company all subject to legal charges.
  • Successfully negotiated a large retail premises for a charitable commercial tenant client at a rent of £130k pa.

Thompson Smith and Puxon

Domestic and international clients utilise the services of the commercial property team at Thompson Smith and Puxon. In particular, it has extensive technical expertise in the handling of agricultural property acquisitions, strategic land planning, development transactions and the augmentation of rural buildings. Kerry Addison specialises in development issues, Mark Rowlands is recommended for leasehold cases and director Stephen Firmin is known for his proficiency in agrarian land work.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Firmin

Other key lawyers:

Kerry Addison; Mark Rowlands

Testimonials

I have been very fortunate to have had the help of TSP over the last fifteen years. The practice has helped me buy and sell a number of properties, as well as working for me in relation to my business. The team are far superior to any other practice I have dealt with in the past. They are well organised, efficient, professional, forward thinking and thoroughly pleasant to deal with‘.

A strong and proactive commercial property team who are responsive and proactive‘.

TSP benefits from employing intelligent, motivated staff, empowered to fulfil clients’ smallest needs. Never superior or condescending, I feel safe in taking my entrepreneurial dynamic and swashbuckling (often cavalier) approach to them to articulate and deliver the most complex of deals‘.

The team are knowledgeable and responsive: two key ingredients for peace of mind and successful property transactions‘.

Kerry Addison, Stephen Firmin and Mark Rowlands have been involved in the cases I have worked with them. all very knowledgeable and helpful and make the complicated issues that have arisen very simple to understand‘.

Stephen Firmin is an outstanding solicitor with wide-ranging knowledge‘.

Mark Rowlands was very good: the best we have dealt with‘.

Mark Rowlands has acted for me over the past 10 years and has always provided a professional, knowledgeable & friendly service.’