Commercial property: Hampshire in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP's property group encompasses a new homes sales team, which is devoted to major development projects. Elsewhere, the firm has an excellent record of assisting household retailers with store roll-out and distribution centre programmes. On the financing side, it has recently seen a stream of new mandates from operators and lenders providing finance to the healthcare property and retirement living sectors. Group head Sean Palka regularly works with clients in the charity sector. Oliver Sowton's practice is focused primarily on the retail and leisure sectors.

Practice head(s):

Sean Palka

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Sowton; Chris Dolan; Alan Harlow; Graham Bennett; Ian Howlett; Anna Larbi; Daniel Curtis


A robust partner-led team that responds efficiently to client’s needs‘.

Has a strong understanding of ‘real life’ commercial issues‘.

Always on the ball‘.

Anna Larbi is knowledgeable, proactive, collaborative and communicative‘.

Key clients

Berkeley Homes Limited

Bellway Homes Limited

Persimmon Homes

Severnside Distribution Land Limited

The Barker-Mill Trustees

Barclays Bank Plc




Nat West


Coutts & Co

Metro Bank

Shawbrook Bank



Premier Marinas

The Southern Co-operative

David Lloyd Leisure


Premier Inn

Department of Health

UK Space Agency

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocese

Winchester Diocesan Board of Finance

The Methodist Church

Sailors’ Society

St John Ambulance

St John’s Winchester

Fitzroy Support

University of Chichester Academy Trust

Kings Group Academy

Work highlights

  • Assisting Metro Bank with its UK store roll-out programme.
  • Assisting Costa Coffee with multiple store acquisitions.
  • Assisting Specsavers with all of its England and Wales property acquisitions for both the main Specsavers brand and the Newmedica brand.
  • Assisting Southern Co-op with its supermarket and convenience store acquisitions.
  • Assisting a a well-known food retailer with its ambitious store roll-out programme; exchanged and completed over 20 store transactions during the past year.

Moore Blatch LLP

In May 2018, Moore Blatch LLP merged with real estate firm Dempster Binning, which saw name partner Peter Dempster and Dawn Searles join the amalgamated commercial property team. Acquisitions and disposals of commercial property portfolios, property financing work and landlord and tenant transactions are notable mainstays of the work. The land development arm of the practice regularly acts for national housebuilders. Martin Duck is the team head. Luc Algar has specialist experience of acting for transport, logistics and marine sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Martin Duck

Other key lawyers:

Julian Parkes; Luc Algar; Charles Cantoni; Bernard Ralph, Lee Edwards, Stephen Ball; Peter Dempster; Dawn Searles


‘The commercial team are a very professional team who provide us the information and service we require as housebuilders in often ( whilst formal) a relaxed and considered approach.  They provide us the confidence and information we require need in order we can front acquisitions and often land assemblies in the best way from the start.  We have encountered several very difficult transactions of late and the expertise in getting these transactions to exchange have been a challenge to say the least.  Given the teams need to deliver a cradle to grave service, (acquisition to sale) there is little room for error and our regular meetings and telephone dialogue has played an important role in providing this’.

‘Stephen Ball & Janice Taylor continue to stand tall against tough competition within the commercial housebuilding industry’.


Key clients

Rosa’s London

Darwin & Wallace

Purlieu Construction Company


Wright & Bell

Almax Group

Foreman Homes

William Grant & Sons

Hampshire Homes Group

Commercial First

Albion & East

Work highlights

  • Assisted Rosa’s London with the sale of its very successful Thai restaurant business comprising 14 restaurants, with three others exchanged prior to completion of the sale.
  • Assisting Henty with a long-term option to sell land to Linden Homes and Miller Homes for residential development.
  • Assisted Foreman Homes Limited with negotiating and agreeing all relevant documents to enable an approximately £6m site to be purchased with its joint venture partner.
  • Assisted William Grant & Sons, the privately-owned Whiskey Distiller which produces Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Hendricks Gin, purchase a new £28m headquarters in London.  
  • Asssisted Commercial First with the transfer of 5,000 mortgages between it and another morgage lender, and all property aspects therein.

Paris Smith LLP

The 'approachable' property and planning group at Paris Smith LLP is spread between the Southampton and Winchester offices. Assistance is provided to clients through niche team sub-specialisms in development, planning and plot sales. The group regularly liaises with the charities and education group when advising on the property aspects of schools converting to academies. Elsewhere, housebuilders, major retailers, banks and leisure companies are among the team's key clients. Lisa Busby recently made partner. Mark Howarth and John Mansell are also key contacts, as is associate Emma Pope.

Practice head(s):

Mark Howarth; John Mansell

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Busby; Emma Pope


A highly positive and helpful team‘.

Takes a proactive and commercially aware approach‘.

David Eminton and Lisa Busby provide excellent guidance and advice‘.

As a chartered surveyor who interacts daily with lawyers from innumerable Hampshire-based firms, I can safely say that the service my client’s receive from Paris Smith is among the best‘.

The team is quick to respond and covers the whole breadth of real estate issues‘.

Emma Pope is one person who particularly stands out for me as a real estate professional who, to my mind, strikes the perfect balance between technical competence, pragmatism and commercial awareness‘.

Key clients

Co-operative Group

Fat Face

Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society

Associated British Ports

Ann Summers


Petchey Industrial Holdings

Alfred Homes

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Bargate Homes

Century Link Communications UK

Work highlights

  • Assisting Co-operative with multiple acquisitions of new stores in the context of its target to open 100 new stores.
  • Assisting Alfred Homes with the acquisition of development sites, contracts and options relating to sites and onward plot sales.
  • Assisting the landlord with leasing three laboratories and a storage room at the University of Southampton Science Park; the tenant will be using the premises for a mixture of research and development chemistry.
  • Assisted Furness House Developments with the acquisition of a Furness House in Redhill, a tenanted office block for conversion into 72 flats under permitted development rights.
  • Assisted lenders with over 1,000 property financing matters worth approximately £500m in total.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

The real estate group at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP, which includes five partners, was strengthened by the arrival of managing associate Stephen Baker from CMS in June 2018. In addition, five other solicitors have joined the team. The diverse client roster includes London-based real estate investment funds, international corporate entities, national high street retailers and SMEs. Anthony Alderman is experienced in marine and energy sector transactions, and is also active in port developments. 'Formidable' practice head Tim Burbidge focuses on real estate investment and development.

Practice head(s):

Tim Burbidge

Other key lawyers:

Alistair Walton; William Akerman; Stephen Baker; Anthony Alderman; Jon Hobbs; Nikki Powell; Joanna Beattie-Edwards


In addition to undertaking consistently high-quality work, the team is always quick to respond and provides informed guidance‘.

Very responsive and personable with a real strength in communication‘.

Alistair Walton is easy to work with and clear in his approach to complex issues. Tim Burbidge is a heavyweight in this practice area‘.

Key clients

The Crown Estate

New Look

Babcock International Group

Associated British Ports

Ladbrokes Coral


Moorfield Group

Rockspring UK Value 2 Fund


Tristan Capital

Historic England

Capital Industrial



Go Ape!

University of Southampton


London Borough of Sutton


Church Commissioners

F&C Property Growth and Income Fund

The Bournemouth Development Company



Quidnet Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Assisting Rampion Offshore Wind with all commercial property aspects of the £1.3bn construction of the 400MW Rampion Offshore Windfarm including the offshore rights to the windfarm site, offshore sub-station and cable and onshore transmission assets.
  • Assisting Capital Industrial with the refinancing of the £200m Capital Industrial One portfolio with the Prudential Insurance Company of America.
  • Assisted Boxpark with completing headleases, letting agreements with tenants and various other commercial property aspects of the completion of its new bespoke layout market at Wembley.
  • Advising a leading Hong Kong private investor on their £49m acquisition of a six-storey mixed-use building in Wardour Street from Thor Equities.
  • Advised New Look on the real estate aspects of its CVA roll out and any property arrangements arising as a consequence of the CVA being successfully agreed to by creditors.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Property finance is a key area of focus at Clarke Willmott LLP, which acts for names such as Interbay Funding and Lloyds Bank Plc, among others. The firm also demonstrates strong capabilities in property investment transactions, and generates a significant amount of work from London-based clients. Elsewhere, the group is highly reputed for commercial landlord and tenant matters, and is also sought out for its development expertise. Peter Swinburn leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Peter Swinburn


Professionals make it clear what they are going to do within a defined time frame and execute accordingly‘.

If a commercial judgement has to be made during a transaction, they are able to summarise the risks to the lender and client ensuring the process moves forward‘.

It is always a joy to work with this team; they bring the fun to business while remaining focused on the end goal. The individuals are very experienced and can cut through the noise to get to the heart of the issue‘.

Peter Swinburn is totally reliable, conscientious and someone you would want to have on side when dealing with property issues and transactions. He takes great pride in his work and delivers a great service for the client‘.

Key clients

Interbay Funding

Lloyds Bank

Fat Face

New Forest District Council

Meritas Properties

Horatio Properties Limited

Marina Developments Ltd

London and Cambridge Properties Limited

Sheet Anchor Evolve Limited

Farrow & Ball Limited

The Cornish Bakery

Countryside Properties

Taylor Wimpey UK

McDermott Will & Emery UK

Isle of Wight Council

Persimmon Homes

Work highlights

  • Assisting Sheet Anchor Investments with the acquisition of an existing community center site owned by Basildon Borough Council and an adjacent library site owned by Essex County Council in the context of a significant high street regeneration scheme.
  • Assisting Fat Face with all all aspects of its property portfolio management including acquisitions, disposals and lease renewals.
  • Assisted the Isle of Wight council with acquiring a lease of commercial site comprising a number of separate buildings with the aim of  renovating and sub-letting the buildings to generate employment.
  • Assisting Interbay Funding Limited with security arrangements pertaining to their short term finance proposition and property matters therein.
  • Assisted Sheet Anchor Evolve with a complex long leasehold acquisition of part of an integrated shopping centre on the outskirts of Newcastle comprising thirty tenancies.

Coffin Mew LLP

Coffin Mew LLP's varied list of clients includes property developers, banks and rural estates. The firm's commercial property department advises on the full range of issues in connection with development projects, such as planning and environmental matters, and construction. Other areas of activity include landlord and tenant work and pension property investments. In addition, since its merger with Charles Lucas & Marshall in 2017, the firm has been increasingly active in the advice to rural estates and farms. Practice head Nick Leavey focuses on major development projects. Peter Fellows specialises in property investment and property finance work.

Practice head(s):

Nick Leavey

Other key lawyers:

Peter Fellows; Amanda Read


Knowledgeable, friendly, efficient and commercially sensitive‘.

A down-to-earth , diligent and amiable team.’

Provide pragmatic solutions and advise on risks using terms suitable for the layman‘.

Offer a bespoke service tailored to each client‘.

Key clients

Sovereign Pension Services

James Hay Partnership

Curtis Banks

Crayfern Homes

Pentland Homes

Metis Homes


Study Group

Brighton West Pier Trust


Work highlights

  • Assisting Haslar Developments, a globally-owned specialist developer, with the property finance, planning, site set-up and disposal aspects of its major new development.
  • Assisting Roquebrook Group, an international property developer, with the acquisition and assembly of sites for a mixed-use development in London.
  • Assisting the owners of the iconic Victorian Brighton West Pier structure with the £46m Brighton i360 project, designed by the team behind the London Eye.
  • Acting for Lower Hoddern Farm as seller on the sale of a major national housebuilder and as buyer for the construction of 450 houses on land in East Sussex.
  • Advised Study Group on the rationalisation of its property portfolio.

Lester Aldridge LLP

Lester Aldridge LLP's strengths in the real estate sphere are illustrated by the fact that its team has experience of handling development site acquisitions for clients such as McCarthy & Stone Plc and Care South. Property finance is another driver of activity, with the firm generating work from a number of clearing banks. Its team also has significant experience of managing property portfolios for clients in the marine, healthcare and telecommunications sectors, among others. Practice head Roger Wooley is the name to note for development projects, development agreements and disposals.

Practice head(s):

Roger Woolley

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Stevens; Rebecca Humm; Sian Rowland; Claire Long

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone

Santander UK

Monzo Bank


Bargate Homes

Bloor Homes


Captiva Homes

Marina Developments

Care South

CHG Holdings

Meyrick Estate


Aldermore Bank

Norwich & Peterborough


Lloyds Bank

Fragrance Group

Work highlights

  • Advising the challenger bank on its move to new head office premises in Finsbury Square, London.
  • Acting for the retirement housebuilder on its purchase of a site.
  • Acted for Aldermore in their secured lending on property investments to the total value of over £100m in the past year.
  • Assisted with the sale of eleven medical centres which were developed and managed by the client over the last 20 years.
  • Acted for the client in respect of its acquisition and subsequent letting of St Chads Hotel in Blackpool.

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell's Southampton team regularly works with the firm's broader real estate team in the Chichester and Gatwick offices to provide a wide range of expertise to clients. Its varied practice covers real estate finance, regeneration/mixed-use schemes, corporate occupier work and portfolio acquisitions and disposals. One of the key figures in the team is Tina Webster, who excels in complex residential and commercial development projects, large corporate relocations and land promotion. David Fanchi, who has a first-rate reputation in real estate finance, has built up a notable following of lender clients. Philip Gray and Robert Stangroom are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

David Fanchi; Tina Webster

Other key lawyers:

Philip Gray; Robert Stangroom; Richard Purcell


A strong team with a clear cross-practice banking & finance element‘.

Sound legal knowledge and high quality of work‘.

David Fanchi is experienced, knowledgeable, affable and takes a commercially-driven yet risk-aware approach‘.

Key clients

Micheldever Tyre Services

Berkeley Strategic Land

Hanbury Properties

Artisan Real Estate Investors

Seaward Properties

North Street Quarter

Store Property Investments

Hendy Group

Chichester College

Lambeth College

Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

South Essex College

Idverde SAS



Pallant Homes

Generator Strategic

Welbeck Strategic Land

Work highlights

  • Advised Micheldever Tyre Services on the property aspects of its £10m share acquisition of Bathwick Tyres.
  • Assisted Idverde UK with several leasehold transactions and securing premises to enable the client to perform its contract services.
  • Assisting Trant Group with its property portfolio.  

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP has a notable specialism in the transport & infrastructure sector; the team acts on the acquisition, disposal and development of Network Rail-regulated land, and regularly handles property-related matters for NATS. The firm also generates work with a nexus to the retail, leisure, telecoms and healthcare sectors. Joanne McGuiness is the name to note for large projects involving serial acquisitions and disposals. Property finance specialist Mehar Patel joined the firm in January 2019 from Lendy Limited.

Practice head(s):

Joanne McGuinness

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Ready; Emily Stocker; Georgina Burrows; Katrina Spolander; Mehar Patel


The team made us aware of all the relevant market trends and advised us on the best strategies‘.

Katrina Spolander has a wealth of knowledge and always meets deadlines‘.

Always professional and responsive with clear, concise and reasoned replies to queries‘.

Georgina Burrows is always willing to have a discussion or meeting‘.

Key clients

Hitachi Rail Europe

Hitachi Europe

Telefonica UK



Hamleys of London

Lifeways Group

Leonardo MW

Defence Infrastructure & Organisation

National Air Traffic Services

Churchill Retirement Living

Drew Smith Homes

Work highlights

  • Assisted Hamleys with negotiating and agreeing three new leases at London Bridge Station, Waterloo Station and St Pancras Station, and concession agreements for spaces in Gatwick, Luton and Manchester airports.
  • Assist Telefonica with the management of its retail property portfolio of approximately 265 stores.
  • Assisted Horton Heath with negotiating two new option agreements and a related promotion agreement, along with the renewal of five other options and on onward sale to Eastleigh Borough Council
  • Advised Lifeways Community Care on the disposal and leaseback of a development site in Halifax.
  • Acting for Almacantar as landowner in relation to a wayleave agreement to document telecommunications equipment to be installed by BT for the benefit of one of the client’s retail tenants.

Trethowans LLP

Trethowans LLP has a national reputation in commercial property pension transactions. In addition, its team is a strong performer in property finance transactions and landlord and tenant work, It also provides support on the property aspects of M&A, and advises LPA receivers and insolvency practitioners on restructurings and insolvencies. Paul Longman is the head of the practice. Liz Bryson has expertise in land development matters.

Practice head(s):

Paul Longman

Other key lawyers:

Liz Bryson


Liz Bryson is exceptional in all respects, nothing short of excellent‘.

Provides concise legal advice‘.

Liz Bryson is sharp, no frills, super efficient and to the point. She works well with the other side to get the deal through‘.

Key clients

James Hay Pension Trustees

Ladbrokes Coral

Rowanmoor Trustees

Santander UK


Lloyds Bank

Sippchoice Trustees

Stannah Lifts Holdings

Sentinel Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Assisted a commercial developer with the £4m sale of a residential development site to a housebuilder by a contract involving complex escrow arrangements and provisions for infrastructure work.
  • Assisted a regional development company with its restructuring; this included transfer and re-distribution of South Coast Property Assets, commercial advice and property transfers for landmark warehousing and office space.
  • Advising a specialist developer on all aspects of acquisition and disposal including conditional contracts, options, and sub-sales.
  • Assisted client with a sale to a pension fund  Construction provisions and lease back of part.

BDB Pitmans

The key names in BDB Pitmans' real estate team are consultants John Newton and Nick Todd. Specialisms of the practice include the acquisition and disposal of farms and agricultural estates, and also the promotion and sale of agricultural and rural land to leading residential developers. The team also has notable expertise in the marine sector, with Newton and Todd acting for a number of regional heavyweight clients, including Premier Marinas, Red Funnel Ferries and Solent & Wight Line Cruises.

Practice head(s):

John Newton

Work highlights

  • Advised on the complex £30m restructuring and demerger of family farming company involving mixture of farming partnership assets, forestry, development sites and investment properties across Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire.
  • Assisted with a £2.4m purchase of multi-let commercial investment property in Windsor for investment company/developer.
  • Sale of part of an extensive agricultural estate in Gloucestershire.
  • Purchase of various waterfront assets and properties with complex insolvency and contamination issues worth in the region of £10m on behalf of our client.

Dutton Gregory

Commercial property is a bedrock of Dutton Gregory's work. Its offering has undergone a significant transition, with Alan Sydney retiring from private practice in 2018, along with fellow partners Lorne Campbell and Roger Breese. Denise Bull, who has more than 30 years of experience, succeeded Sydney as the department practice head and the group has been bolstered by a number of lateral hires. The firm undertakes all types of commercial property work, with specialisms in the care homes, charity, retail, hotels, leisure and telecoms sectors.

Practice head(s):

Denise Bull

Other key lawyers:

Richard Brown; Julia Davies; Rachel McNulty


An approachable team with truly multi-disciplinary expertise‘.

Denise Bull provides expert guidance in commercial property law and takes a proactive approach‘.

Highly personable and professional‘.

Always try to understand what is important to the client and help achieve their goals‘.

Excellent quality of service‘.

Work highlights

  • The sale of a freehold subject to 40 residential flats and 9 Commercial Tenancies worth £4.75 million for an investment company.
  • Purchase of freehold reversion and acting for buyer of freehold for £5 million to existing lease for motor company.
  • Grant of option to developer exercisable on grant of planning permission for residential development worth £3 million.
  • Portfolio management for estate agent with annual rents ranging from £20,000 to £100,000 per annum, including management of a number of properties as well as new lease terminations, renewals and surrenders.
  • A Section 106 agreement which secured financial planning contributions totalling more than £3.5 million as well as a number of non-financial obligations for an agricultural company, including suitable alternative natural green space (SANG) and open space.

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey provides a full service to clients with its commercial property practice operating on a cross-office basis as one team. In Southampton, an 11-strong team has a particular focus on residential development, with clients in this space including regional and national housebuilders, as well as registered providers of affordable housing. Property portfolio management work is another area of focus, and the firm generates a significant amount of repeat work from a number of key clients; Carol Phillips is the name to note in this area. Martin Hirst is the head of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Martin Hirst

Work highlights

  • Acted for Berkeley Homes (Western) Limited on a complex joint venture with London and Quadrant Housing for the acquisition of a site in Reading with planning permission for 765 residential dwellings plus five commercial units where Berkeley contracted to take the freehold of the development site
  • Acted for Berkeley Homes (Oxford & Chiltern) Limited on the acquisition of the iconic former Horlicks Factory in Slough from Glaxo SmithKline (GSK).
  • Acting for new client Direct Wines on property matters, including the negotiation of a lease of a new retail space.
  • Advising Screwfix Direct Limited on the continued roll out of English trade counters.