Commercial property: Bristol in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP impresses with a broad practice which spans real estate investment and development, portfolio management, property finance, rural estate matters, and Escheat, among others. The team is instructed by occupiers, landowners, and financers as well as public sector clients, retailers, developer and construction companies alike. Practice head Richard Clark‘s ‘communication and client management is excellent‘. Richard Read is well versed in investment and asset management matters and Euan Bremner specialises in advising in the energy space. Legal director Chris Bartlett is another involved practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Richard Clark

Other key lawyers:

Ross Polkinghorne; Richard Read; Euan Bremner; Philip Beer; Chris Bartlett; Sally-Anne Hayles


‘The firm since taking on the instruction have been excellent. They have excelled at fee / budget management; communication, client management and interpersonal skills;  commercial minded in negotiations, deal doers not blockers; and technology is top level. The firm is real estate focused and you can tell in their approach and expertise. It has been a breath of fresh air working with them, in what we hope will be a long and fruitful partnership.’

‘Good cross-discipline and communication.’

‘Richard Clark and Sally-Anne Hayles are assertive and take control of the negotiation, more than happy to take responsibility in there advice rather than always seeking client approval. This coupled with the fact that they are extremely commercial has made the legal negotiations smooth and have avoided them becoming protracted. Their communication and client management is excellent, it took know time at all to understand our commercial drivers and desired outcomes, and have swiftly gone about achieving them.’

‘The whole team is very engaging and people that you genuinely like as a person not just to work with, which makes everything a lot easier. Their experience, expertise that they bring to the table is second to none.’

‘Rick Read – excellent legal mind complimented by a strong practical approach to commercial issues.’

‘Ross Polkinghorne really knows his stuff and applies it in a really user-friendly way. He has made himself one of our team.’

Key clients

Greater London Authority

Linmere Project


University of Bristol

St. Modwen Plc

Albion Community Power

Transport for London

Andrew Brownsword / The Royal Clarence Hotel Limited

UK Atomic Energy Authority

Pure Scooters

The Crown Estate

Work highlights

  • Advised the consortium of landowners comprising Aviva Investors, Land Improvement Holdings and the Diocese of St Albans on the development scheme known as Linmere, a 630 acre site north of London.
  • Advising YTL Developments on all aspects of the Brabazon development (2,675 new homes commercial space an arena for Bristol, including the sale of first four phases of affordable housing to Bromford Housing Association.)
  • Advising University of Bristol in relation to the acquisition of land to develop the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus Bristol.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP is noted for having 'excellent property knowledge in a range of areas with a diverse team.' It acts for residential developers involving joint ventures as well as in the development of shopping centres, asset management and urban centre repurposing. With Stan Campbell as a key contact, it also services health and public sector clients. Group head Nick Knapman has particularly expertise in contentious matters, and other names to note are the 'excellentGraham Brothwood and Ben Pariser, who is highlighted for his broad practice.

Practice head(s):

Nick Knapman

Other key lawyers:

Graham Brothwood; Ben Pariser; Stan Campbell 


‘They have a clear understanding of the requirements of our business and the sector we work in (Housebuilding). Their experience in unlocking complex legal issues are second to none.’

‘Ben Pariser is exceptional.’

‘The firm consistently delivers high quality advice at not the most expensive rates. There is always a wide spread of sector experience allowing complete service depending on the complexity of the transaction. They have introduced simple easy to access notes on topically subjects which you can then source more detailed information.

‘I genuinely have a lot of affection for this team. They have supported me on a number of projects and I have been grateful for that support. They keep things moving along but alert me of potential issues. For a busy in-house lawyer, that’s just what I need. They also take the time to explain the technicalities of property law and legislation which would otherwise remain a mystery. They have some really good young lawyers coming through as well.’

‘Stan Campbell has a huge amount of technical and commercial expertise and is able to think quickly on his feet. He is endlessly patient and expresses himself in a clear and helpful manner. ’

‘Excellent property knowledge in a range of areas with a diverse team.’

‘Everyone at DAC has a can do attitude and is happy to help, no question is too small and the prompt response is fantastic. Personal yet professional.’

‘I mainly work with Graham Brothwood: he is an excellent lawyer who delivers extremely satisfactory advice and services on Real Estate matters.’

Key clients


Crest Nicholson plc


LandSec (aka Land Securities Group plc)

Zurich Insurance plc

Triple Point Social Housing

Bellway Homes Limited

Longacre Rengen Eveleigh Limited

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

St. James’s Place Wealth Management UK Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bellway in relation to their collaboration with Vistry Homes Limited to acquire a 48 acre, 370 unit site for residential development in Redlands, Wanborough, near Swindon.
  • Acted for University Hospital Southampton (“UHS”) which entered into a land strategy agreement with Prime in relation to the acquisition of 9.42 acres of land at Bargain Farm intended to be developed as a Health Campus and Park & Ride facility.
  • Continued to handle all asset management instructions from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP is an established point of contact for real estate investors, developers, contractors and lenders. The team, which is led by 'seriously impressiveMichelle McGurl, is involved in development and regeneration schemes, residential premises, and commercial leasing with transactions in the retail, hotel and leisure, senior living, and logistic and transport sectors. Ian Wilkinson has experience in disposals and asset management, while David North is well versed in the student accommodation space. Alice Conway and associate Joanna Risdale are further key practitioners of the team.

Practice head(s):

Michelle McGurl

Other key lawyers:

Ian Wilkinson; David North; Colin Stratton; Alice Conway; Joanna Risdale


‘Ian Wilkinson is very commercially minded and dynamic, as well as very friendly and personable. He stayed calm and focused throughout a challenging negotiation. ’

‘OC provide a start to finish service for our regional housebuilding business. All  services are provided to a high level. The seamless service provided during the lockdown is testament to the professionalism of the organisation.’

‘Our primary point of contact is Colin Stratton and we continue to be extremely pleased with this service provided.’

‘One of the few firms with high experience of working with the housebuilding industry- offers specialist advice covering all areas. Their housebuilder client list demonstrates how highly rated they are.’

‘Cross-border approach that Osborne Clarke provides in relation to the type of transactions we undertake is very valuable to us. Whilst Osborne Clarke can and do provide a very wide range of services/advice, they are not a faceless organisation.’

‘David North – you get a sense he really values us as a client.’

‘Osborne Clarke’s real estate team are the best we have worked with. They are very experienced and knowledgeable. They are client-focused, responsive and flexible. Legal drafting is always excellent. Advice is commercial and very reliable. If we have a tricky contract we would always choose Osborne Clarke. ’

‘Michelle McGurl is the best real estate solicitor I have worked with. Her knowledge and understanding are amazing. Her advice is excellent. She is always calm and considered even in difficult face to face meetings. Seriously impressive.’


Key clients

CBRE Global Investors

DTZ Investors

Taylor Wimpey

BDW Trading Limited

Vistry Partnerships Limited (formerly Galliford Try)

Vistry Homes Limited (formerly Bovis Homes)

InfraRed Capital Partners

Credit Suisse


Crest Nicholson plc


Work highlights

  • Assisted Warehouse REIT plc with an acquisition of a £44M, 5 asset logistics portfolio via a corporate acquisition and share subscription with the consideration being Warehouse REIT plc shares and cash.
  • Advised Vistry Partnerships Limited on their joint venture with Goram Homes, Bristol City Council’s new housing company.
  • Assisted Global Student Accommodation with the acquisition of two student accommodation buildings in Bristol from Harmsworth Pension Fund.

Bevan Brittan LLP

Bevan Brittan LLP is traditionally strong in advising NHS trusts, local authorities and housing associations on real estate matters but expanded its client portfolio more into the private sector in recent years. Under the lead of Mark Calverley, the team covers regeneration and development projects. Alison Buckingham is a key contact in social housing questions.

Practice head(s):

Mark Calverley

Other key lawyers:

Alison Buckingham; Rob Harrison; David Hobbs


‘Understands client’s requirements. Excellent in separating legal from commercial issues. Great team and communications are very good. CPD events are tailored to client specific issues.’

‘Clear and concise advice. Easy to work with and understands the client and their needs.’

‘Market knowledge and strong partnering ethos, great customer focus, understands our business and drivers.’

‘I’ve dealt with many different staff at Bevan Brittan but it always feels like a seamless experience – a cohesive team working together to the same standards and with the same approaches.’

‘What I value most at Bevan Brittan is their honesty and transparency – I know I can trust their advice.’

‘Mark Calverley is a regular contact, and I genuinely feel that we have a partnership rather than a customer-supplier relationship.’


Key clients

Canal & River Trust

The Electoral Commission

Places for People Homes Limited

City of London Corporation

Sovereign Housing Association Limited

Southmead Development Trust

Cardiff Council

North Somerset Council

NHS Property Services

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

Department of Health and Social Care

Storm Properties Limited

Slough Borough Council

Peabody Group

London Borough of Hounslow

Sanctuary Housing Group

National Savings and Investments

Royal London Borough of Greenwich

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP 'delivers a seamless service' across a variety of real estate matters. It is often involved in the housebuilder, commercial development and investment sectors as well as in residential development schemes. Other fields of activity are advising on telecommunications infrastructure sites and on energy-based matters. Practice head William Juckes is focused on property portfolio management.

Practice head(s):

William Juckes

Other key lawyers:

Simon Day; Beverely Pike; Laurence Lacy


‘Philip Thompson is excellent, always answers emails promptly and makes himself available for meetings – very knowledgeable’

‘The property team at Clarke Wilmott are able to provide a wide range of expertise across all aspects of property law and can call in assistance from other specialists within thier practice quickly to deliver a seamless service where unexpected problems arise for the client. The depth in the team means that there is always someone available to help with unexpected matters as well as for day to day issues that arise. The land transactions has required some unique “outside the box” thinking which Clarke Wilmott have delivered well and kept the project timeline moving.’

‘Laurence Lacy is very approachable and is able to give detailed, comprehnsive advice on technical issues which “non lawyers” both understand and are comfortable with. He is assisted by Beverely Pike who has grappled with complex land transaction issues with ease. Both have been readily available when needed and their advice has moved the overall project in the right direction.’

‘Personable, responsive, good old-fashioned customer service.’

Key clients

Bovis Homes Limited

Mapeley Group

Frank Capital

Evergreen Extra


Work highlights

  • Acted for Bovis Homes on their joint venture with housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley (MTVH) to build a 783-home development at Cambourne, outside Cambridge.
  • Acted for Bovis Homes on their purchase of a 725 unit residential development site at Twigworth Gloucestershire from Robert Hitchins Limited with a development value of £200m and the subsequent sale of part of that site to Bloor Homes for a 147 unit scheme.


The team at TLT has expertise in the leisure, retail and clean energy field, where it regularly advises on disposals, court proceedings, developments and transactions. It also acts for financial services companies. Practice head Maria Connolly specialises advising on renewable energy work. Julia Lucas specialises in the leisure, food and drink sector and is a key contact for pub companies and brewers.

Practice head(s):

Maria Connolly

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Halstead; Julia Lucas

Key clients


Greene King

WH Smiths

Punch Pubs

EWM Group (Edinburgh Woollen Mill)


London Borough of Ealing

TUI Travel



Work highlights

  • Advised Gridserve in relation to all the real estate and planning aspects to enable the development of its Electric Forecourt® concept.
  • Assisted Burrington Estates with the complex site purchase, funding, lettings and planning of 86-acre Winslade Park development, Exeter.
  • Acted in all real estate work arising out of the purchase of the assets of Bonmarche Limited (in administration) by EWM Group.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has considerable sector expertise in the following: energy projects, rail infrastructure, and public sector development. It also advises national and regional clients on secured lending property finance and institutional investments, for which Andrew Harding  is a key contact. The group further acts for local authorities. Head of the Bristol office Fiona O’Kane, energy specialist Simon Hughes and transaction expert Katherine Douglas jointly lead the real estate practice.

Practice head(s):

Katherine Douglas; Simon Hughes; Fiona O’Kane

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Harding 

Key clients

Bristol City Council

Renewable Energy Systems Limited

Post Office Limited

Ashfield Land Limited

Majestic Wine Warehouses Limited

University of Plymouth

South Gloucestershire District Council

West Devon Borough Council

REG Windpower Limited

Freightliner Group Limited


Brittany Ferries

North Somerset Council

Scottish Power Renewables


Lloyds Bank Plc

Bristol Charities

Nuon Renewables

English Cities Fund

Plymouth Community Homes


Rentplus UK Limited



Work highlights

  • Advising several councils on strategic land acquisition and key land agreements connected to the reopening of the railway between Bristol and Portishead for passenger train services.
  • Advising the Ministry of Defence on a multitude of matters from the grant and acquisition of leases for offices, nurseries, land for military exercises, aircraft simulators and police/fire stations on the various military bases throughout the UK.
  • Acting for the City Council of Bristol on the disposal of Temple Island, Bristol to Legal & General (L&G) for redevelopment.

Ashfords LLP

The members at Ashfords LLP are noted for being 'excellent communicators'; the team is well versed in property transactions, regeneration projects, real estate investments, and property development and finance. Its client portfolio sees several names from the franchise sector in particular. Led by Andrew Worley, it also includes residential matters specialist Kate Topp as well as social housing experts Paul Butterworth and associate Isabelle ClementWarren Reid joined from Thrings LLP in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Worley

Other key lawyers:

Paul Butterworth; Kate Topp; Isabelle Clement; Warren Reid; Ian Ramsay Tompkins


‘Well respected in the area.’

‘Kate Topp and Ian Ramsay Tompkins are all knowledgeable, friendly and approachable.’

‘Very commercial. Excellent communicators. Great teamwork and a will to get the job done. ’

‘Very experienced regarding our business and acceptable terms. Very commercial and personable. Hard working and very professional. ’

‘A very well organised, professional company who deal with matters in a timely way.’

‘Kate Topp and Ian Ramsey Tompkins are extremely knowledgeable and deal with problems and provide solutions in a very timely manner.’


Key clients

David Wilson Homes South West

Barratt Bristol

Loungers Group

Crest Nicholson Operations Limited

Wainhomes Severn Valley Limited

Wichelstowe LLP (this is our JV of Barratt and Swindon Borough Council)

Vistry Homes Limited

Aster Group

Sovereign Housing Association

LiveWest Homes Limited

Homes England


Bicester Heritage

UK Storage Company (SW) Limited

Bristol City Council

James Hay Partnership

Curtis Banks

Taco Bell

Miss Millies Fried Chicken


Work highlights

  • Acting for Loungers UK Limited in connection with its expansion plans involving acquisition of 3 properties forming part of Pizza Express estate in St Ives, Devizes and Blackpool.
  • Instructed by Bicester Heritageto grant a 99 year lease for a premium, for the new headquarters of Motorsport UK to be located on the client’s motoring estate.
  • Assisted Vistry Homes Limited with a complex Joint Venture Agreement with Salter Property for the construction and sale of 200 homes on 11.2 acres.

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey's team is active in a variety of real estate matters, such as property portfolio management, development and infrastructure projects, and freehold property transactions. Its client portfolio is similarly broad; the group is instructed by developers, financial services institutions, retailers, and energy and infrastructure companies. Martin HirstStuart Cleak and Imam Qazi head up the practice, which also includes legal director Mark Li.

Practice head(s):

Martin Hirst; Stuart Cleak; Imam Qazi

Other key lawyers:

Mark Li


‘First experience of the Foot Anstey team, very efficient, very responsive, knowledgeable commercial and great at problem solving / effecting our complicated property transaction.’

‘Mark Li – very down to earth, approachable, experienced property lawyer; patient but firm where required protecting client’s interests. Very good at brainstorming commercially viable property solutions to complex property problems and completing transactions quickly and efficiently always with client’s interests at heart.’

Key clients

Screwfix Direct Limited

First Group plc

B&Q plc

Ashfield Land

Mole Valley Farmers

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP's Bristol offering was bolstered with the arrival of new practice head Duncan Tringham and property litigator Dan Cuthbert from Foot Anstey in early 2020. The team is regularly involved in real estate schemes and transactions, and has experience in regeneration, housing and mixed use developments, public infrastructure and property investments. The group also advises on joint ventures between the public and private sector.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Tringham

Other key lawyers:

Emilie Criddle; Dan Cuthbert 


‘The team has the unusual combination of highly specialist expertise and a practical, commercially minded approach. In my experience, legal practices tend to be one or the other and it’s rare to find lawyers who have both. This makes them particularly effective at delivering complex real estate/public sector projects. They also have a concentration of market leading experts in public/private collaborations, developments and regeneration projects.’

‘Dan Cuthbert is one of the best property litigators in the country and certainly in the South West. He is experienced, astute, very balanced and commercial yet always wants to do the best for his clients by trying to find the best angle in any dispute.’

‘Duncan Tringham is strategic and solution focussed, deploying a wealth of experience to resolve the many challenges which inevitably arise on complex developments and public/private collaborations. He understands how local authorities think and work and he has navigated many of them through difficult issues and projects that would deter others. His endless energy and calm and measured approach are just what you need to get the projects done and he somehow seems to maintain a good sense of humour even when you are negotiating the completion of a deal at 3 in the morning!’

‘Emilie Criddle – She is thorough, pro-active and determined. She provides a bedrock of support to the team, quietly and effectively completing her tasks to keep the projects on track. She always seems to be a step ahead of me anticipating and delivering what needs to be done.’

Key clients

The Cornwall Council

Exeter City Council

South Somerset District Council

The London Borough of Enfield

The London Borough of Hackney

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Carlesburg UK Limited

Vilmorin & CIE S.A. (aka Limagrain Group)

Icosa Water Group

Liberatis Group (aka The 4th Utility)

The Clean Earth Energy Group

Harworth Estates Group

SmartParc Limited

The Copas Partnership

Work highlights

  • Advising the Council on the Langarth Garden Village project involving the strategic acquisition and development of a new town with at least 4000 homes, new schools, commercial, retail and public space and a £47m grant funded highway scheme in collaboration with three developers.
  • Advising Exeter City Council on a major city regeneration scheme at City Point involving the redevelopment of the Civic Centre and central bus station to create a new multi-use development involving a new leisure complex, bus station, local and national government offices and residential and retail units.
  • Advising the London Borough of Enfield on the roll out of fast fibre network infrastructure across the borough to provide connectivity to its portfolio of properties which include more than 10,000 tenanted homes.

Thrings LLP

Thrings LLP's scope encompasses residential developments, landlord portfolio, corporate occupier work, and secured lending. Robert Barnes acts as key contact for private borrowers and lenders here. The group is also regularly instructed by purchasers from Hong Kong and Singapore in investment matters. Barnes leads the team together with Ben Jones and Gemma Featonby. Warren Reid left for Ashfords LLP in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Ben Jones; Gemma Featonby; Robert Barnes

Key clients











Work highlights

  • Advised Newland Homes Limited on the acquisition of a development site at a former commercial nursery in Chapmanslade, Wiltshire, including due diligence and the negotiation of transfer.
  • Advised Baylis Estates Limited on the acquisition of a strategic commercial development site at Fox Den Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol, in South Gloucestershire, including planning construction and property due diligence and transfer and advice on agreements to lease.
  • Advised Oaknorth Bank PLC on development finance matters, including full property planning, corporate and construction due diligence for a brownfield site in Exeter.