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Commercial property: Kent, Surrey, Sussex in South East


Brachers offers clients a depth of experience in the full range of commercial property matters. The team advises on matters including property transactions, real estate financings and refinancings, and development agreements. The practice has a proven track record in advising clients in the healthcare, education, and charity sectors. The practice is led by Sarah Gaines, who acts in all areas of commercial property but has particular experience advising in the agricultural and charity sectors; Ash Jilani leads on primary care matters, while Bill Butler heads the education group.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Gaines

Other key lawyers:

Bill Butler; Ash Jilani; Sarah Webster


‘We have used the services of Brachers for a considerable number of years. They have supported us with leases and licences with our tenants and also when we have acquired space in external landlords’ properties. More recently, the Brachers Team worked with us to sell a piece of land on one of our sites, through the sale process, an Agreement for Lease and Lease for us to acquire part of the site back for one of our services.’

‘Sarah Gaines is our main point of contact and we have regular, monthly, telephone calls to review their work for us but obviously we email or speak between these calls for an urgent updates, etc. Sarah manages the team and will identify one of her staff for a specific project using their strengths i.e. commercial law rather than property law. However, all the team are knowledgeable and as they hold our legal documents for safe keeping the information is readily available as required.’

Key clients

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

CAF Bank

Systems Technology (S.E)

Chaucer College

Bromley College

East Kent College

Plumpton College

Sea Street Developments

Alan Firmin

Work highlights

  • Advised East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust and its Estate Management subsidiary, 2gether Support Solutions Limited on the sale of a development site to further the hospital’s health offering.
  • Advised CAF Bank on funding development for £3.8 million to a church charity to redevelop its existing site.
  • Advised Chaucer College on all real-estate aspects of disposal of campus to private equity fund/developer, enabling college to refocus on main Canterbury campus.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP's commercial property practice advises clients including investors, retail and hospitality companies, and public sector organisations on commercial property work. In 2019 the firm was increasingly active in the private rental sector, alongside continuing to handle developments, acquisitions, and portfolio management. The Guildford team collaborates with the London practice to advise clients. Practice head Adam Taylor-Smith works with a client base that includes both local, national and international organisations, Martin Quicke is known for his work on developments. Associate Choisanne Man departed the team in November 2019.

Practice head(s):

Adam Taylor-Smith

Key clients

Freshwater Group / Daejan Holdings Plc

Frogmore Property Group

Lai Sun Development Group

Crew Clothing

C& J Clark International Limited (Clark’s Shoes)

Grainger Plc

U + I Plc

Helical Plc


Ares UK


Spelthorne Borough Council

Portsmouth City Council

Harbour Hotels/Nicolas James Group

Inditex S.A. (Massimo Dutti, Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Zara Home)

Aurora Group (Coast, Karen Millen, Warehouse, Oasis)

Dixons Carphone Plc (previously Carphone Warehouse)

Citrus Group

Wates Group

Hutchinson Property Group

Wincanton Plc

Places for People Capital Limited

Liberty House Group (GFD Alliance)

IO Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Advising on two significant Central London development sites for the Stock Exchange listed Daejan Holdings Plc (also known as The Freshwater Group), headed by Benzion Freshwater.
  • Acting for Portsmouth City Council on the acquisition of Lakeside North Harbour, Portsmouth comprising predominantly office based mixed use scheme and some adjoining development land.
  • Advising EcoWorld on the acquisition of interest of joint venture partner in two substantial development sites in central Woking with a view to developing three high towers next to Woking station.

Cripps Pemberton Greenish

Cripps Pemberton Greenish offers clients a 'strong real estate team with extensive local and regional presence'. The firm advises clients on the full range of commercial property matters, including transactions, developments, the management of portfolios, regeneration projects, and funding. The firm has proven track records in advising shopping center owners and landed estates. The large team is led by Michael Scott, Stephen Hedley, and Richard Blackman. Glenn Miller specialises in residential development work, while Sally Ashworth was promoted to partner in 2019 and is also recommended by clients.

Other key lawyers:

Glenn Miller; Sally Ashworth


‘Strong real estate team with extensive local and regional presence. Good experiences with them of purchasing land for property development (including complex back to back and multiparty transactions), purchase of commercially active properties and raising development finance from institutions.’

‘In particular we would single out Sally Ashworth – proactive and easy to work with, definitely client-focused and commercially minded, Sally helps to cut through to the nub of the problem and dissipate the tensions that can easily arise during a transaction – in short I would be happy to (and indeed have) recommend Sally to colleagues and contacts.’

Key clients


Endurance Land

The Dulwich Estate

Hermes Real Estate


Kennedy Wilson


Liberty Property Trust


Omega (After Alpha)

Reformation UK

Runnymede Borough Council

Tristan Capital

Worshipful Company of Innholders

Pluto Finance

Work highlights

  • Advised Kennedy Wilson Europe on its shopping centre portfolio to enable relocation of existing tenants and forward funding arrangement to facilitate refurbishments. Also provided specialist planning, construction and dispute resolution advice and worked closely with Herbert Smith Freehills on a £85mre-financing for five shopping centres.
  • Collaborated with the firm’s banking practices to advise on the £88m refinancing of an existing property relating to the High Holborn Estate, which was originally bought by Dubai developer SRG Group in 2015. Produced the title certificate and coordinated cross border elements with different lawyers across jurisdictions.
  • Advised on the sale of a mixed-use property in Covent Garden for £2.35m. Provided initial advice on the structuring of the transaction with further input from our property disputes team to deal with outstanding arrears and trespass issues. The deal included complex tax considerations as directors/shareholders were resident abroad.

Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow (the result of the merger of Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins) advises clients on matters related to residential, commercial and industrial property, in addition to working with landlords and tenants on leases. The team also counts a number of banks amongst its clients; advising on refinancings. The practice is led by Helen Archibald, based in Woking, who is particularly experienced in advising development companies on commercial and residential developments. Jo Farr heads the Guildford team, and has broad expertise in commercial property.

Practice head(s):

Helen Archibald

Other key lawyers:

Jo Farr

Key clients

NEP Visions


Lloyds Bank

British Study Centres

The Halebourne Group



Science Group

Alpha LSG

Fleetwood Developments

Work highlights

  • Advising Handelsbanken on the transfer and finance of a large industrial unit subject to 10 leases valued in excess of £16 million with lending of £7.6 million.
  • Handling a range of matters for new client Fleetwood Developments Limited including sales, refinances and leases for commercial units for the client, including the setting up various developments for management purposes.
  • Advising Mosspat Developments on the acquisition and sub-sale of a development site in the city centre of Canterbury.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

From its office in Guildford, Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP advises national clients on commercial property matters. The firm is particularly active in advising on matters involving hotels, developments, retail, and promotion agreements. The practice is led by Mike Busby, who has a strong track record in acquisitions, disposals, and portfolio refinancings as well as development work. Tony Burns, Timothy Davies, and associates Graham Dixon and Lyndsey Whittell are also singled out for praise by clients.

Practice head(s):

Mike Busby


‘Tony Burns in the commercial real estate department has broad experience of the development world and is backed by a highly efficient team. The same applies to John Chater in Banking.’

‘Mark Pooley is our main contact. Mark is very knowledgeable, but also relaxed and personable making non-legal clients feel at ease and he explains everything clearly for those without the specialist knowledge.’

‘Tim Davies and Graham Dixon are the stand-out folk for us, but we had no hesitation at all in speaking to any of their colleagues.’

‘I have found the key strengths of the individuals in their team that I have worked with are that firstly, they deal with complex matters clearly and positively. Secondly, they have a commercial approach – their work is not just based on legal theory. Third, they make transactions happen whilst still protecting their clients’ best interests. Fourth, they are prepared to go the extra mile without regard to busy schedules and times of day. Finally, it is enjoyable working with them!’

‘I have worked with Mike Busby, Sam Davies and Lyndsey Whittell. Mike Busby holds a very wide knowledge of his field. A great team leader and you know he is always there if needed. Fights for you whilst still being pragmatic. Commercial. Positive. Delivers. An outstanding lawyer both with regard to personality and expertise. Sam Davies is excellent. Great potential. Delivers in time and effort. Total commitment. Thinks in a world that rushes too much. Impressive. One to be watched! Senior associate Lyndsey Whittell is patient and copes well with multiple points from various joint owners and agents on this project. Analyses exceptionally well. Expresses key points clearly. Essential common sense as well as a most capable lawyer. A safe pair of hands.’

‘Sarah Jordan has been exceptional in pulling the transaction together despite a host of several stakeholders making this a complex endeavour.’

‘We have spent a number of years working with solicitors in real estate teams at various legal practices trying to identify someone who was committed to giving clear, concise, efficient and effective guidance. We have been consistently underwhelmed until we used Sam Davies who not only delivered but excelled in all of these key areas.’


Key clients

Eight Bankside Limited

Equinox Living

Flight Centre (UK)

Gentian Property Investments

Marick Real Estate

The trustees of the Tremayne family settlements

Worldwide Estates

Work highlights

  • Advised Marick Real Estate Limited on the development of a bespoke new warehouse facility for an aviation company which required a development agreement, new long lease; release and regrant of various rights pursuant to tripartite agreement with the local authority and adjoining landowner.
  • Acting for Equinox Living on cross securitisation on newly completed c. 100 unit developments to release substantial equity for future developments. Work included cross company guarantees and intermediary interests.
  • Advised Worldwide Estates Limited on the sale of a multi-let industrial park which completed within six weeks of initial instruction.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

With one of the largest real estate teams in the South East, Stevens & Bolton LLP is active in areas including retail, leisure, offices, and education. The firm advised clients on acquisitions, developments, the financing of portfolios, and the management of leases. The practice is led by Andrew Steele; other key contacts include Howard Lupton, Alex Watt and Daryl Rivero. Steele is praised by clients for his 'sound advice', while Rivero is 'a valuable ally in business'. Watt is experienced in advising on the funding of development projects and related transactions.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Steele

Other key lawyers:

Howard Lupton; Alex Watt; Daryl Rivero


‘The Stevens and Bolton team dealt with a rather tricky tenant in a professional and proactive way. It required a lot of chasing on their part, however we were very pleased to avoid this having to go to a tribunal and we were more than happy with the outcome too. They also kept us well informed of progress throughout.’

‘The team were very professional and diligent in their work. In particular, Helen Wheddon and associate Richard Wilkins led and resolved a longstanding tenancy issue and we were very happy with the outcome.’

‘Andrew Steele is always on the end of the line with sound advice taking a proactive approach assisting with the project delivery. Ian Craig is very knowledgeable and delivers a high standard of service.’

‘The service provided is well-balanced to offer that of a large corporate team but with a personal touch. The expertise is second to none and covers all aspects of property requirements. Their approach of ensuring the service is covered by the appropriate level of staff is welcome given not all tasks need to be undertaken by a partner, with the more than capable associates being able to process in an efficient manner.’

‘We highly commend Alex Watt and Jonathan Cope from the Real Estate team. Their attention to detail and consistent performance is beneficial to our self managed company. We need a proactive service which often requires short notice attention, both Alex and Jonny appreciate this and are always available as a priority. They are an extension to our own team and work together with us maintain standards and modernised provisions.’

‘Specific stand out staff are Sarah Kirwan, Katie Green, Markus Klempa and Andrew Steele. I value the qualities of diligence, perseverance and communication that I consistently see in all my dealings with Stevens and Bolton. I have used Stevens and Bolton for transactions across a variety of real estate deals over the last 13 years – they have consistently performed at a very high level, and I fully expect them to continue to do so.’

‘The team I deal with is led by Daryl Rivero and her work marries legal expertise with pragmatic advice that enables me to navigate an increasingly tough market for property transactions. Also Daryl is able to call on other members of the team at Stevens and Bolton at short notice to deal with the increasing challenges of working in the construction and property market. Daryl is a valuable ally in business.’

‘Having used several law firms, what makes Stevens and Bolton unique is the quality of service that is displayed across the board. Great communication with stakeholders, a diligent approach, tenacity, perseverance – all combined with reasonable fees make Stevens and Bolton very easy to deal with.’

Key clients

Hambridge Limited

Social Long Income Fund – PAIF

University of Surrey

Store Property Investments

Fuller’s Pubs (Fuller Smith and Turner PLC)

Diebold Nixdorf

Octopus Healthcare Developments

Twenty Twenty Capital Limited (2020 Capital)

Boundary Real Estate Partners

CMS Developments

Work highlights

  • Advising Social Long Income Fund – PAIF on the acquisition of a portfolio of primary care properties from a number of companies controlled by Assura.
  • Acting for Boundary Real Estate Partners on the acquisition, including funding, of a multi-let office and retail building in Leamington Spa.
  • Advising 2020 Capital on a complex purchase and sub-sale over a three-year period of an industrial site in South East London, with complications relating to telecoms code rights, section 106 planning gain issues, and rights of light.

Thomson Snell & Passmore

Thomson Snell & Passmore handles commercial property work in a variety of areas including property finance, residential developments, portfolio management, and agricultural property work. The sizeable team, based in Tunbridge Wells, receives much of its work from longstanding clients. Practice head Richard Ellard is particularly experienced in acquisitions and disposals as well as regeneration and development. Sarah Easton leads on residential development work, while Joanne Wright offers wide-ranging experience in all areas of this practice area.

Practice head(s):

Richard Ellard

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Easton; Joanne Wright

Key clients

Aldermore Bank

Folkestone & Hythe District Council

Southborough Town Council

Pentland Homes

Kent Frozen Foods


COOK Trading

Fernham Homes

Millwood Designer Homes

Close Brothers

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP advises on a wide range of real estate matters, including investments, secured lending, portfolio management, transactions, and business acquisitions and disposals. In 2019, the firm took on new clients in the leisure, retail and sports sectors. The practice is led by Ingrid Saffin, who is praised by a client as 'approachable, accessible, diligent and technically excellent', while Legal Director Claire Timmings is currently working in the novel area of advising restaurant chains on the impact of takeaway apps and 'dark kitchens'. Senior associate Gavin Partridge is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Ingrid Saffin


‘As a Director in a Chartered Surveying firm, I liaise with numerous legal practices on an almost daily basis. CRS stand out for the following reasons: firstly, their team approach: CRS allocate the right individual(s) to a particular job, both in terms of skill set and level of seniority. The real estate issues we contend with on a national basis are diverse and so such an approach is key to effective service delivery. They are also adept at working as part of a wider team of professionals, whether it be boundary surveyors, accountants or counsel. Secondly, their client care: CRS know their clients and tailor their approach accordingly. They regularly run client specific CPD events, whether it be on pipeline easements or serviced offices and associated leasing issues. Last week they circulated a document entitled “Planning for and coping with coronavirus – Tips for Employers”, a very helpful document given the number of client sites that operate in the UK. Thirdly, accessibility: in contrast to many practices, lawyers at CRS are responsive and accessible, a key attribute. Lastly, capabilities: CRS act on a national basis across about as diverse a property portfolio as one could conceive (offices, industrial units, pipelines, land, gasses plants etc). CRS continually demonstrate an ability to effectively advise on and tackle an extensive range of legal issues.’

‘Ingrid Saffin is the key client contact and the individual who leads and oversees the team. Her technical ability is matched by her unflinching dedication to the client, often responding to emails late into the night. Ingrid is adept at managing a team and fielding jobs to the appropriate individual, both in terms of skill set and level of seniority. Ingrid is approachable, accessible, diligent and technically excellent.

Other members of the team warranting specific mention include Charlotte Major, an associate, who provides nothing less than an excellent service. As does Claire Timmings, Legal Director, and David Haines, litigation partner.’

Key clients

Acushnet Europe (Titleist)

Nike Retail BV/Nike (UK)/Converse Retail (UK)

Limited and Converse Netherlands

Octopus Property

Ramac Holdings (Trading)

Dentex Healthcare Group

Juno Health UK Limited and Bregal Freshstream

Gas Centre Holdings Limited and Bathroom Centre

Golden Sands Holiday Camp (Rhyl)

Pivotal Housing Group

CareTech Holdings

Work highlights

  • Acting for Acushnet Europe Limited on their agreement with the Bedford Estate to develop a leading golf performance facility at Woburn Golf Club. The transaction involved complex development and lease documentation to cater for the specific requirements of the Woburn Estate as a golf course and leisure facility with Titleist’s requirements to develop a facility in that setting to attract leading professional and amateur golfers.
  • Advising CareTech on work related to a previous ground rents sale and leaseback deal, including the sale of a number of deferred properties and resolving complex title issues.
  • Advising Juno Health on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Avicenna Holdings, which was acquired by way of a court-approved scheme of arrangement pursuant to the companies act.

DMH Stallard LLP

Spread across offices in Brighton, Horsham, Gatwick and Guildford, DMH Stallard LLP's commercial property team handles matters including commercial transactions, planning, the financing of developments, and the management of property portfolios. Practice head Tina George advises on commercial and residential property, particularly in the area collective enfranchisement claims. Nick Pentecost specialises in advising on transactions of property for development, while Anne Milne is particularly active in advising banks on property finance. Ian Greenfield joined the firm in December 2019 from asb law; he has a broad client base of property entrepreneurs and developers based on the South coast.

Practice head(s):

Tina George


‘Jonathan Crook consistently delivers a high level of client service and faultless technical knowledge whilst also being among the more commercial property lawyers I have dealt with. City law firm quality at a fraction of the price.’

‘DMH Stallard continue to provide an excellent service which is both speedy and efficient. All members of their team are equally competent and they go out of their way to assist wherever they can.’

‘Cathy Searle our primary solicitor at DMH explains and makes life very easy for us. I could not recommend highly enough.’

‘I felt that Ben Price gave excellent advice. He gave his opinion on complex matters, rather than sitting on the fence and provided clear communication and regular updates on fee levels to aid budgetary planning. Added value by liaising with his colleagues on associated matters relevant to the transaction, but not strictly real estate related.’

Transparent and pragmatic approach to complex property transactions. Accessible and clear communication. Focus on getting the deal done, rather than hitting their fee targets.’

Key clients

Concept Developments (Land)

Chandlers Building Supplies

Orbit South Housing Association

Digital Pipeline

HSS Tool Hire

Diocese of Arundel and Brighton

Tesco Stores

St. Barnabas Hospice

Liverpool Victoria (LV=)

Motoring & Leisure Services Limited (Boundless/CSMA)

Work highlights

  • Advised Chandlers Building Supplies on its merger with Parker Building Supplies which involved a complex, multi-angle brief relating to the Chandlers’ 14 sites; the merger created a group with combined revenues of £180m.
  • Acting for Orbit South Housing Association in connection with a £100m+ scheme to regenerate a former council estate in the London Borough of Bexley, providing a mixed tenure scheme of 320 high quality, low-rise flats including affordable and shared ownership homes.
  • Acting for a development company on a site acquisition, refinance and forward sale/leaseback transaction to enable the development of a 140 bedroom hotel, part of a significant regeneration scheme which includes residential, commercial and retail development.

Herrington Carmichael LLP

Based in Camberley, Herrington Carmichael LLP advises clients across the South East on a range of real estate matters. The team has been particularly active in assisting developers and landowners in transactions and option agreements. It also advises banks and developers on loans and refinancings. Practice head Tim Hardesty is experienced in assisting on retail developments, while Daniel York specialises in landlord and tenant work, as well as secured lending.

Practice head(s):

Tim Hardesty

Other key lawyers:

Daniel York; Joshua Watkins


‘Supportive and understand the requirements of us as a bank very well. They have a sensible split of the corporate and real estate specialists on our cases.’

‘I have dealt mostly with Daniel York  who is readily contactable on many commercial matters and cases, whether general advice or part of an instruction. But we have had equal strong support from Joshua Watkins and Olivia Regester on the real estate team.’

Key clients

Grundon Waste Management

Metro Bank

National Westminster Bank

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell's commercial property team underwent a significant internal reorganisation in 2019, with Richard Purcell moving from Southampton to the Gatwick office and becoming practice head following the departure of Balbit Thandi. The firm handles matters including regeneration, strategic land, the management of property portfolios, and corporate support. Many of the team's clients have long-term relationships with the firm. In addition to Purcell, Guy Sackett and James Pavey are the other key contacts in Gatwick.  James Letchford left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Richard Purcell

Other key lawyers:

Guy Sackett; James Pavey;


‘They do what they say they will. I never have to worry about their work being the reason anything has been held up. Always professional and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Guy Sackett is a highly competant lawyer, easy to work with, technically brilliant and a strong negotiator. Most lawyers I work with are strong in areas but very few are strong in all.’

‘One of the key strenghts of the team is their willingness to try and resolve issues without always coming back to me. They understand how I operate and what I will accept and not accept in transactions. They do not hassle me with every little detail. A pragmatic approach to negotiation and can genuinely come up with alternative solutions.’

Key clients

Micheldever Tyre Services

Artisan Real Estate Investors

Infrastructure Investments

North Street Quarter

National Grid

Hendy Group


Supported Accommodation

Welbeck Strategic Land


Sussex County Cricket Club

Work highlights

  • Advising Welbeck Strategic Land on four separate disposals to house builders of complex development sites, having worked these through the land promotion cycle.
  • Advising Sussex County Cricket Club on the proposed development of part of its ground to deliver a residential-led mixed use development scheme. This is a significant high profile deal, which is tied in to a wider master planning exercise in connection with the future development of the stadium to secure the future of the club.
  • Assisting Artisan Real Estate Investors in a transaction involving the disposal of the consented site, subject to agreement for lease.

TWM Solicitors LLP

'Approachable, pragmatic and attentive', TWM Solicitors LLP handles a range of commercial property matters and  is particularly active in transactions and the financing of properties. The team is led by Adrian Price, who has a broad client base including developers, investors and banks. Anne Fowler has a specialism in advising on the sale of golf clubs, and Simon Child is 'very calm, very effective and experienced in achieving resolution quickly'; his current work focuses on advising on option and promotion agreements.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Price

Other key lawyers:

Anne Fowler; Simon Child


‘A very impressive team overall. Approachable, pragmatic and attentive to detail in a refreshingly unfussy and undramatic manner. We were introduced to them whilst they acted for a bank with whom we were finalising funding. Their approach was very refreshing and straightforward whilst securing their clients interest and we decided that this was the sort of firm and the sort of people that we wanted to be representing us going forward. I’m pleased to say we have been very satisfied with that decision ever since. We’ve been very impressed at how having agreed the basic principles, they simply proceed to complete matters without endlessly “reinventing the wheel” or constantly referring back to us as the client for input that should be in their sphere not ours – unlike many previous experiences with other firms. To date on all development transactions where TWM have acted for us we have seen their role executed efficiently and quickly. Accordingly we look forward to working with them on future projects, from site acquisition, negotiating bank security documentation through to property sales, and have full confidence in the firm and the team.’

‘Simon Child heads up the team we deal with. Very calm, very effective and experienced in achieving resolution quickly and efficiently. Both a pleasure to work with and someone we have full confidence in to represent our interests.’

‘The team are very professional, efficient and responsive to requests. Always communicate their advice clearly in a way which is easily understood.’

‘I deal extensively with Claire Campbell who is always very professional, understands our requirements very well and is very persistent in putting forward our case.’

Key clients

Cheylesmore Estates

Hurley Partners

Main Course Associates


Lucas Design & Construction

Bishop’s Move



Asprey Homes

Tindle Newspapers

Work highlights

Adams & Remers

In addition to handling development, portfolio management, and landlord and tenant work, Adams & Remers has a particular specialism in care home transactions. They are also active in advising landowners on land disposals. The practice is led by Katherine Haslam, who has broad knowledge of the commercial property field, while Robin Illingworth is known for his work in the healthcare and pharmacy sector. The Lewes-based team is increasingly working alongside its London office in serving its clients.

Practice head(s):

Katherine Haslam

Other key lawyers:

Robin Illingworth


‘A firm that has significantly more solicitors in their commercial dept than most of the competition.’

Boys & Maughan

Boys & Maughan is known for its work in advising developers on acquisitions and disposals in addition to advising corporate clients on leases. The practice is led by Robert Moulsdale in Margate, with Rachael Massingham leading the Canterbury side of the team. Robert Ailsby departed the firm in February 2020.

Practice head(s):

Robin Moulsdale

Other key lawyers:

Rachael Massingham


‘The team is knowledgeable and they are always able to answer queries and questions quickly and efficiently. We have used the firm for commercial conveyancing for the purchase of a large office building and then for the leases within the building, once new tenants were found. The issues were complex, as it was a community asset purchase, yet this did not phase the team and everything was conducted quickly and efficiently.’

‘Rachael Massingham is the solicitor that we have been working with over the past two years and we will continue to use her services as and when new tenancies arise in the commercial property that we bought. Rachael and her team have become a valued source of professional support for our business and we literally wouldn’t have got where we are without her. In the last year Rachael has prepared and completed complex leases on 5 commercial units and we have two further units that are due to be let-out in the next year. Rachael is known in the local area as the ‘go-to’ person for commercial conveyancing.’

Coole Bevis LLP

With offices in Brighton and Worthing, Coole Bevis LLP advises both local start-up businesses and larger, regional corporates on property matters. The team also frequently assists property investors with the management of their portfolios. The practice is headed by Oliver Maxwell-Jones and alongside assistant solicitor Aman Johal, Maxwell-Jones is praised as 'incredibly efficient, knowledgeable and very communicative'. Nicola Hunt and solicitor Jeff Streater are also recommended by clients, while the team as a whole is noted for its 'depth of knowledge, responsiveness, communication and pure professionalism'.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Maxwell-Jones

Other key lawyers:

Aman Johal; Nicola Hunt; Jeff Streater


‘I have worked with a few legal entities in the past on both a personal and professional level. To date, Coole Bevis have outshone all previous experiences with their depth of knowledge, responsiveness, communication and pure professionalism.’

‘I have dealt with a number of firms in the last 25 years since our previous long term solicitor retired and I was never happy. I have now found a firm that deals with matters promptly, efficiently and at a reasonable price and, most importantly, keeps me informed about progress and issues. In my experience having all of these things is rare if not unique.’

‘Our main dealings have been with Oliver Maxwell-Jones and Aman Johal. Both are incredibly efficient, knowledgeable and very communicative meaning we are never chasing for replies or updates.’

‘Oliver Maxwell-Jones. A great person to chat things through and gives great, grounded legal advice.’

‘Jeff Streater displayed an honest and considered approach towards all areas of works for us.’

‘The team there are very approachable and successfully helped my Employer through some very difficult and time dependent issues. I specifically worked with Carina Moss originally, then Nicola Hunt, Laura Saye, Laura Prince. Despite staff changes at Coole Bevis, I never felt that there was a problem due to information not being passed on.’

‘They have a great personal touch. They build relationships with their clients.’

‘Nicola Hunt is the reason we will stay with Coole Bevis for all of our property and other legal matters.’

Downs Solicitors LLP

Downs Solicitors LLP's commercial property team is spread across the firm's three offices, each consisting of a partner and an associate; Andrew Peach in Dorking, Caroline Walton in Cobham, and Madeleine James in Godalming. The team is active across the London and South East property markets, but also advises on matters nationally. In addition to the partners, associates Heather Kershaw and Ailsa MacLean are also key contacts; Kershaw is experienced in advising on matters involving pubs, while MacLean specialises in development and property finance.

Other key lawyers:

Heather Kershaw; Ailsa MacLean


‘Madeleine and her team always deal with things in an extremely calm and efficient way. They are always willing to give some ad hoc advice outside of projects, which is always well laid out and considered. They come across as very knowledgeable and diligent, whilst maintaining a commercial focus.’

‘Madeleine delivers a city service for a regional price. She is friendly, personable, available and straight forward in her assessment and advice.’

‘We work with Caroline Walton and her assistant Vicky Feltham. They offer a seamless service which is responsive, practical, very commercial and they are a pleasure to work with.’

‘Very responsive, practical, commercial and easy to deal with.’

‘I have worked with Andy Peach and associate Anna Svensson, both of whom are good to deal with and know their areas of practice well.’

Furley Page Solicitors

Furley Page Solicitors advises clients on matters ranging from residential developments and secured lending transactions, to landlord and tenant work. Many of its clients have a long-term relationship with the firm, and praise the 'strong team with experience and excellent judgement'. The practice is led by the 'excellent' Jeremy Licence, who predominantly acts on acquisitions and the sale of land for development. Other key contacts include Liz Brady, who focuses on acquisitions for residential development, and Ethan Desai, a specialist in agricultural land law.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Licence

Other key lawyers:

Liz Brady; Ethan Desai


‘Good range of skills available. Proactive approach. Straight forward advice and good advice at a reasonable cost.’

‘Jeremy Licence and Ethan Desai are proactive and experienced in dealing with a range of property matters.’

‘A strong team with in depth knowledge of all matters relating to commercial property transactions.’

‘Strong team with experience and excellent judgement. Competent to deal with all the details, but always understanding the bigger picture and focusing on the real issues.’

‘Jeremy Licence is excellent, but the entire team are strong. Responsive and get things done.’

Key clients

University of Kent

Day Lewis PLC/QH Estates Limited/ABC Drugstores

Countrystyle Group

G H Dean & Co

Murston Construction

Stema Shipping

Grupo Antolin Uruasa SA

Zikoma Properties

East Kent Spatial Development Company

Svenska Handelsbanken ab (publ)

FDC Homes Limited N

John Parker & Sons Limited

Willmarsh Developments Limited

Sandwich Town Council

Trustees of the Mocket Trust

Citi Nest Canterbury

Acrise Estates

Roniks Limited

AVIC International

Worth Parish Council

Catching Lives

Patrick Heren

South Barracks Management Company

Red Key Concepts

Work highlights

  • Advised a significant Kent landowner (one party in a larger consortium) in relation to a Promotion Agreement for residential development of 1,340 acres of land.
  • Acted for a local farming company in the sale of a large area of land in East Kent to a leading wine producer. Dealt with the documentation to deal with holdover rights and transfer of agricultural subsidy payments
  • Acting for a landowning partnership on the negotiation of an option and lease for up to 500 acres of solar installation.

Hart Brown

Hart Brown advises clients throughout the South East on matters including transactions involving leaseholds and freeholds, as well as development work. Its clients include SMEs and investment LLPs, and it has also developed a specialism in acting for residents' associations. The practice is led by Roderick Campbell; Tamzin Mandelli and John Guthrie are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Roderick Campbell

Other key lawyers:

Tamzin Mandelli; John Guthrie

PDT Solicitors

PDT Solicitors advise on the full gamet of commercial property matters. Its clients include national and local housebuilders, landlords and tenants, housing associations, and organisations in the healthcare sector. James Clewlow leads the practice and is praised for his 'experience, understanding of process and pragmatism'. Jane Bowden is 'truly fantastic to deal with' and Craig Burton is an 'exceptional talent' and leads on landlord and tenant work.

Practice head(s):

James Clewlow

Other key lawyers:

Jane Bowden; Craig Burton


‘Over the 50 years I’ve been in business I have dealt with a number of solicitors. We moved to PDT Solicitors about 8 years ago and at the time, I was concerned that our lead solicitor was very young however, what he knows and what he does for us and the speed with which he does it for us goes beyond any other solicitor I have worked with over the years. The knowledge that I can phone him and get hold of him first time most of the time is a huge benefit to a small business.’

‘Stand out individual is Craig Burton, who is our lead contact at PDT Solicitors. Whatever the legal requirement we have, Craig either efficiently deals with this himself or guides us to whoever at PDT is best able to assist us albeit he then always takes an active role it making sure matters continue moving swiftly irrespective. The personal touch is all important and Craig’s professional, expeditious, courteous and friendly manner is an all important reason why he is so well regarded, not just by our company but by business colleagues across our local area. An exceptional talent amongst an exceptional team at PDT.’

‘PDT have a broad range of expertise with exceptionally capable team members. We have had a variety of legal requirements over the years involving property, litigation, development, company sales, land sales, employment, you name it and PDT have been able to respond expeditiously. We are pleased to take for granted that the legal advice from PDT is always first rate and at good value which is obviously what one wants as standard from your solicitor. PDT stands out from other firms we have used because they are extremely approachable (don’t under-estimate this!); communicate well; cover a broad range of legal requirements under one roof; and are able to provide quick responses without fuss. PDT have exceptionally good teams in all their departments and come with the highest recommendation from us.’

‘Jane Bowden was truly fantastic to deal with, she was always prompt to answer queries either via email or phone.’

‘PDT are very personable, pro-active as well as re-active and reliable. In all of the transactions I have been involved with they have been focused on achieving the goal of completing the transaction whether it be a sale or a letting and if there are any issues they are raised straight away with suggested solutions, meaning time is not lost. Their monthly seminars with both internal and external speakers are well received as to their topical notes which are always informative. I would not hesitate recommending the practice to others and i do regularly.’

‘I predominantly deal with Craig Burton who is very professional, very good at keeping me updated on the cases in hand, calls as well as e-mails me which is rare and is human and good company which is a really good attribute in the modern working world. When Craig is not available James Clewlow and also Elise Sherwell & Holly Goacher are always willing to assist where they can.’

‘Quite simply there is a genuine desire to provide the best possible service and support. We deal with the charitable sector and often clients who have minimal experience of dealing with legal matters – this requires patience and understanding from our legal partners and often, PDT go over and above what I would consider ‘industry standards’. I would wish to highlight two people who have been particularly supportive this year. Associate Holly Goacher regularly goes ‘the extra mile’ to support both ourselves and the client to ensure the best possible outcome. She has had to deal with a number of ‘difficult’ cases over the past year on our behalf and has shown empathy and understanding to resolve issues that have arisen and could have caused significant problems. Additionally, James Clewlow, Managing Partner – unlike other firms where the managing partner is reserved for the ‘larger clients’, James takes a keen interest in supporting the relationship we have. He is proactive about working in partnership with our firm and regularly attends our servicer meetings, providing advice and expert knowledge which certainly benefits our relationship and continued growth.’

‘James Clewlow is our main point of contact, whose experience, understanding of process & pragmatism meant that we works well within our Development team environment. We also have able assistance from Carl Mason, Holly Goacher & Laura Sutton, in particular.’

Key clients

Sunley FPR

Reside Developments

Southern Housing Group

Sunley Holdings

Marchdown Residential

Jensen and Davis

Greenplan Designer Homes


CAF Bank

Turnbull Group


Bedford Park Group

B.J. Babb Ltd

Prime Securities

Aerotron Leasing Services

Little Barn Owls

Commercial Collection Services

Achieve Sports

Work highlights

  • Assisted Sunley FPR in completion of the sale and disposal of student accommodation and retail investment property with a sale value of £23,000,000.
  • Acted for Southern Housing Group in their acquisition of a development site for Affordable Housing and Open Market Sale and acting for the Housing Association by way of sub-sale.
  • Advised Reside Development in the negotiation and completion of a promotion agreement with a gross development value of circa £15,000,000.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP

Based in Brighton, Sevenoaks, and Uckfield, Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP's client base stretches beyond the South East, with the firm advising on commercial property matters across the country. Examples of their work include advising commercial clients and non-profits on leases, handling the financing and refinancing of properties, and assisting with property transactions. The practice is led by David Ashton, who has broad experience in the commercial property field. Richard Cripps specialises in advising developers on acquisitions, as well as working with landowners on the sale of land.

Practice head(s):

David Ashton

Other key lawyers:

Richard Cripps

Key clients

Arch Europe Insurance Services

Diversified Business Communications UK

National Autistic Society Academies Trust

Turkey Mill Investments

Lenham Storage

JFL Properties

Work highlights

  • Acting for a new client, the insurance broker Arch Europe Insurance Services, during a period of rapid growth, both organic and M&A-led (Axiom Underwriting, Barbican Group Holdings). The majority of these matters required agreements for lease pending fit out works.
  • Acting for this leading events and conferences business in their HQ relocation to the Brinell Building, Brighton’s newest Grade A office building and rare new commercial space in the city.
  • Advising this prominent Business Park in Maidstone on all the negotiated leases with business tenants as well as any other legal work as and when required. In 2019 we advised on over 20 lease renewals or negotiations. We have already advised them on four matters in January 2020 alone.

Thackray Williams LLP

Based in Bromley, Thackray Williams LLP specialises in leasehold enfranchisement, and also handles property transactions and planning. The team is led by Yildiz Betez and Vikki Herbert. Associate David Gibson is another name to note; he is valued by clients for his 'excellent knowledge of leasehold/freehold law'.

Practice head(s):

Yildiz Betez; Vikki Herbert

Other key lawyers:

David Gibson


‘The team at Thackray Williams work well together. Although I mainly deal with one Solicitor, whenever he has been on leave, his colleagues have continued to move our cases forward and deal with any developments in a professional and knowledgeable manner. They have communicated well with us as clients and they all know the precise position with an ongoing matter and have all the details to hand. Everyone I have dealt with from Reception to Partner is professional, friendly and nothing is too much trouble. It is also most useful that the firm has all the various specialist teams available in house, so any other legal matters can all be dealt with professionally in one place.’

‘We have been working with David Gibson for several years now. David has an excellent knowledge of leasehold/freehold law, and is very adept at explaining and clarifying situations clearly and simply. He always provides all the options available with the pros and cons, allowing us to be confident that we are making well informed decisions. His experience in this niche area enables him to pre-empt and avoid potential issues in what can sometimes be complex legal situations, often with multiple parties involved. David is forever patient and friendly, he is thorough and communicates well, an all round excellent and professional service, that we appreciate and value.’

‘The team is coherent with strong leadership, it is diverse, members have good relationship skills and empathy for clients, they use straight forward language for effective communication and have transparent fees structures.’

‘Individuals at all levels of the business are always available to discuss and provide timely responses to queries. Vikki Herbert has a great deal of experience in leasehold enfranchisement and is skilled at finding solutions for her clients. David Gibson has endless patience and empathy for clients with complex transactions.’

Work highlights