Commercial property: Bristol in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP's market-leading real estate practice, which is led by Colin Ligman, acts for a broad base of private sector clients, including major landowners, household name retailers, hotels, developers and construction companies, among others. In addition, the firm advises public sector clients, such as local authorities. Richard Clark is particularly active in the office and retail sectors, where he focuses on advising investors, developers and occupiers. Richard Read has significant experience of the student accommodation sector, and he is also active in the hotels and leisure space. Ross Polkinghorne, who leads the real estate development group, advises both public and private sector clients on high-value regeneration projects. Euan Bremner handles development and acquisition transactions for energy clients. Philip Beer is another key figure.

Practice head(s):

Colin Ligman; Ross Polkinghorne; Richard Clark; Richard Read

Other key lawyers:

Euan Bremner; Philip Beer


A refreshing “can-do” attitude

A strong real estate team

Strives to find effective solutions even in niche practice areas

Richard Read has a personable and commercial approach


Key clients

The Crown Estate

John Lewis and Waitrose & Partners

Aerium Group

University of Bristol

St Modwen Properties



Transport for London

Greater London Authority

Lloyds Banking Group

Virgin Active

Work highlights

  • Advising the Greater London Authority on the Albert Island development – a 10.2 hectare site forming a key element of the Royal Docks development.
  • Advising the University of Bristol on new campus development in Bristol city centre.
  • Providing Waterstones with strategic and transactional property support, as well as advising on UK store portfolio.
  • Advised Transport for Wales on its procurement of the next Wales and Border Rail Service on behalf of the Welsh government.
  • Advising a developer-client on a £240m-worth regeneration project, Redcliff Quarter.

Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke has a strong profile in the real estate market in the South West and further afield nationally. Its high-end practice provides comprehensive support on all aspects of development, transactional and leasing work. The team has extensive experience of sectors such as student housing, leisure, transport, energy and retail, among others. Practice head Michelle McGurl specialises in residential and mixed use development work, and large scale regeneration projects. Ian Wilkinson and David North are also key figures in the group, which was bolstered by the arrival of Colin Stratton from Thrings LLP in May 2018. Kate Topp departed for Ashfords LLP.

Practice head(s):

Michelle McGurl


A strong, well-integrated team with great specialist knowledge

Exceptional partner-led service with almost 24/7 access to Colin Stratton

Highly responsive, the team works efficiently and address clients’ issues promptly

Alice Conway is very approachable and trustworthy, and adopts a highly commercial approach

Key clients

CBRE Global Investors

DTZ Investors

Taylor Wimpey

BDW Trading

Galliford Try


InfraRed Capital Partners

Credit Suisse

Mayfair Capital Partners

Crosstree Real Estate Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised CBRE Global Investors on the £62m sale of the Atlas Portfolio, which involved the divestment of seven industrial estates to Knight Frank Investment Management.
  • Acted for The Waterfront Limited Partnership on the leasing of retail units at the first-of-its-kind Icon Outlet at The O2 in London.
  • Acted for an affiliate of Crosstree Real Estate Partners on the £72m acquisition of Edmonton Shopping Centre from St Modwen Properties.
  • Advised DTZ investors on various matters, most notably on the £43m divestment of Drury House, Drury Lane in Covent Garden to Manex Properties for the purposes of redevelopment.
  • Advised Sovereign Housing Association on the acquisition from Muse Developments Limited of apartment blocks in the high-profile development at Wapping Wharf in Bristol.

Bevan Brittan LLP

Bevan Brittan LLP is a first port of call for many housing associations, health organisations and local authorities in complex development and regeneration projects. It also generates work from private sector entities. The team is led by Mark Calverley, who has an outstanding track record advising on major regeneration and development projects nationwide. Illustrative of its excellent reputation, the group advises on some of the biggest disposals and redevelopments of hospital sites in London. Another key figure in the team is Alison Buckingham, who leads the social housing practice in the South West region. Rob Harrison is noted for his work in the health property space.

Practice head(s):

Mark Calverley

Other key lawyers:

Alison Buckingham; Rob Harrison

Key clients

NHS Property Services

Sovereign Housing Group

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire

Yarlington Housing Group

Sanctuary Housing Association

Canal & River Trust

London Borough of Waltham Forest

London Borough of Hounslow

Places for People Group

Great Western Air Ambulance Charity

Slough Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advising NHS Property Services on aspects regarding its undocumented lease programme. Work involved the documentation of 4800 undocumented health and commercial occupiers across 10% of the entire health estate.
  • Advising NHS Property Services on matters across its property portfolio; work includes lease advice, property disputes, and development work.
  • Assisting Canal & River Trust with issues concerning its property portfolio.
  • Acted for Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Hertfordshire in relation to the disposal of a number of redundant police sites in Hertfordshire.
  • Acted for Sovereign Group on the purchase of section 106 affordable housing on a large former airfield site near Oxford, which is being redeveloped by Persimmon Homes.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Clarke Willmott LLP features prominently in some of the largest residential development schemes in the South West, and it is also a powerhouse in commercial development projects, investment acquisitions and disposals, and property portfolio management. Also notable is that the firm is particularly strong in real estate matters with a nexus to the telecoms and renewables sectors. Clients include developers, investors, retailers, telecoms operators, and business occupiers, among others. Louise Brown heads up the group, which includes William JuckesLaurence LaceyGreg Lovett and Oliver SmedleyClare Day departed for Harrison Clark Rickerbys.

Practice head(s):

Louise Brown


The property team is a delight to work with.

The team is all about finding simple and creative solutions to complicated problems.

The strength of the Bristol office lies in the cohesiveness of the wider team – the client can easily call on experienced practitioners to advise on related specialist matters.

Oliver Smedley takes a creative commercial approach to getting the best deals for his property clients.

Key clients

Eagle One

Bath Recreation

Bath Abbey


Easterton & Markfield Investments

Mapeley Steps

Secure Trust Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Bath Recreation on the proposed redevelopment of the ground to create state-of-the-art arena.
  • Advised Homes England on the disposal of the Bristol and Bath Science Park.
  • Advised Linkcity on the development and sale of a new PRS and affordable housing development in Central Bristol.
  • Advised Easterton and Markfield Investments on the sale of two phases of development land to national housebuilders.
  • Acted for Sovereign Housing Association on the acquisition of a headquarters office building.

DAC Beachcroft LLP

DAC Beachcroft LLP is renowned for its work in the shopping centre sector, where it acts on high-profile joint ventures and pre-lets, among other matters. Nick Knapman leads the firm’s national real estate shopping centre team and handles contentious and strategic property matters. Julitta Yates specialises in shopping centre asset management work. Elsewhere, the firm has also raised its profile in the housebuilding space, where it acts for a number of the UK's largest residential developers. Bristol team head Graham Brothwood advises multiple corporate clients on their real estate requirements. Ben Pariser has significant experience of acting for mixed-use, residential and commercial developers. Michael Bothamley has expertise in regeneration, development, investment and funding.

Practice head(s):

Graham Brothwood; Michael Bothamley

Other key lawyers:

Nick Knapman; Julitta Yates; Ben Pariser


A highly professional team

An efficient and experienced team with strong technical knowledge

Key clients

St. James’s Place Wealth Management Group


Intu Properties

Crest Nicholson

Galliford Try Partnerships West

Bellway Homes

Persimmon Homes

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Elysium Healthcare Holdings

Work highlights

  • Assisted St. James’s Place Wealth Management Group with a phased office move; work included lease negotiations as well as preparation of key documentation.
  • Acting for Landsec as landlord on unit lettings at shopping centres Bluewater, Trinity Leeds and Southside Wandsworth.
  • Assisted Galliford Try Partnerships West with the acquisition of Blackberry Hill Hospital in Bristol.
  • Assisted a property developer with the acquisition of a high-value site in Devizes, Wiltshire.
  • Advised Crest Nicholson on the £10m-worth sale of a strategic serviced parcel of land at Harry Stoke, Bristol to Linden.


TLT’s primary strengths are in real estate asset management, and commercial and residential development. The firm is also able to advise on ancillary areas, such as planning, construction, tax, and environmental law. The real estate practice has developed specialisms in a wide range of industry sectors, including retail and consumer goods, leisure and the public sector. The practice is led by Maria Connolly, who is ‘friendly, knowledgeable and always contactable’. Connolly is particularly known for her work in the clean energy sector, as is Matthew Grimwood. Andrew Glynn specialises in commercial property investment and acts for property occupiers such as banks, lenders and public sector bodies. Julia Lucas supports leisure sector clients in portfolio acquisitions, disposals, refinancings and estate management.

Practice head(s):

Maria Connolly

Other key lawyers:

Julia Lucas; Andrew Glynn; Julian Mant; Philip Collis; Matthew Grimwood


Very responsive to clients’ questions and needs

A very strong commercial approach coupled with the ability to manage contentious and disputed matters at a reasonable cost

The team makes every client feel important

Driving the process forward even when there are difficult issues to overcome

Key clients



Greene King

TUI Travel

Ecotricity Group

Punch Taverns

Swan Housing



Byron Hamburgers

Work highlights

  • Assisting the client with the completion of three acquisitions valued at £50m.
  • Acting for Punch Taverns on a full range of real estate matters arising after the acqusition by Patron Capital.
  • Advised Arlington Energy on the sale of a developed 20MW gas site in Chesterfield and a developed 40MW energy storage site in Bedford to Arlington Infrastructure.
  • Assisted the client with the completion of five acquisitions for overseas private office fund purchasing office schemes.
  • Advised Avon Fire and Rescue Service on the freehold disposal of former Fire and Rescue Service headquarters in central Bristol for redevelopment.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's real estate practice has a strong focus on energy-related matters, rail infrastructure, institutional investment, public sector development and secured lending property finance. The firm acts for both local and national clients, including numerous local authorities, developers, landlords and corporate occupier tenants. The team has secured multiple panel wins recently, with Homes England being one notable example. The 'fantasticAndrew Harding specialises in institutional investment, leisure and development projects. Simon Hughes, who heads up the energy and natural resources real estate team, is also highly recommended. Leading the operational property group, Katherine Douglas handles acquisitions, disposals, regeneration schemes and development projects.

Practice head(s):

Fiona O’Kane; Simon Hughes; Katherine Douglas

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Harding


A true can-do culture

Rather than simply restating the law, the team provides practical commercial solutions quickly

There is no difference in the high quality of the services provided, whether dealing with a senior partner or someone more junior

The greatest compliment I could pay is that it is similar to having our own internal legal team

Key clients

Bristol City Council

Network Rail Infrastructure

Renewable Energy Systems

Post Office


Ashfield Land

Clarks Shoes

Scottish Power

University of Plymouth

Carlsberg UK

South Gloucestershire District Council

University of Bath

West Devon Borough Council

Gilletts Callington

REG WindPower

The Board of the Pension Protection Fund

Eagle One

Freightliner Group

Local World


GLH Hotels

University of St Mark & St John

Banks Renewables

Brittany Ferries

Knottingley Power

ScottishPower Renewables

Work highlights

  • Advising Ministry of Defence on the grant and acquisition of leases for offices, nurseries, land for military exercises, strategic land disposal, etc.
  • Advised Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm on the completion of the lease and associated rights for the development of the shore base at Great Yarmouth.
  • Acting on behalf of Three Rivers District Council on the South Oxhey Initiative, a £172m mixed-use regeneration project.
  • Advised Bristol & Bath Regional Capital on the prospect of creating an inclusive housing scheme with the acquisition of 61 homes in the region.
  • Advising Del Piero Limited on the acquisition of a former hospital site at Barrow Gurney.

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey's practice has a focus on housebuilder and mixed-use development work, as well as property matters connected with the energy and infrastructure, financial services, retail and leisure, and public sectors. Richard Walford excels in corporate occupier and infrastructure work. Another key figure is Islamic finance expert Imam Qazi, who has extensive experience of investment, finance and development transactions. Duncan Tringham is also a name to note. In 2018, legal director Mark Li joined from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP and managing associate Kutahya Cherry was hired from CMS.  Paul Clark departed for Burges Salmon LLP.

Practice head(s):

Martin Hirst (Southampton)

Other key lawyers:

Richard Sutton; Richard Walford; Imam Qazi; Mark Li; Duncan Tringham; Kutahya Cherry


Competent, quick and highly responsive

The team offers excellent and highly pragmatic legal advice

Key clients


Exeter College

Gregory Distribution

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Berkeley Homes

Screwfix Direct

First Group


Flybe Group

Welcome Break

Work highlights

  • Handled a £2m-worth investment property sale for Computershare.
  • Assisting FirstGroup with the management of their UK property portfolio.
  • Advising B&Q on the negotiation and the completion of a development pre-let of their new 375,000 sq. ft. distribution centre in Swindon.
  • Assisting Welcome Break with the redevelopment of a number of the client’s motorway sites.
  • Assisting Screwfix Direct with the expansion of its property portfolio, lease renewals and other real estate management matters.

Thrings LLP

Thrings LLP acts for clients such as commercial developers, corporate occupiers, retail tenants and property investors, among others. The team advises on all aspects of residential development, corporate occupier and investment work, as well as secured lending. It also has a specialist health and care sector team, which is led by Ben Tarrant. The ‘excellentSteve Schofield, who is noted for ‘dealing with contracts commercially’, leads the wider Bristol-based commercial property group. Schofield has developed a niche in land development. Robert Barnes advises institutional lenders on property and development finance. In May 2018, Colin Stratton departed for Osborne Clarke.

Practice head(s):

Steve Schofield

Other key lawyers:

Robert Barnes; Ben Tarrant; David Mears;


The team is particularly commercial in their outlook

Excellent service level and technical knowledge

Approachable, friendly and commercially sensitive

Competitive in terms of fees

Very good at explaining the complex legal process with the requisite clarity and straightforwardness

Steve Schofield provides a consistently exceptional level of service


Key clients

DS Smith

Renrod Holdings

Newland Homes

FMG Support Group

AirTanker Services


Property Partner


Baylis Estates

Blue Cedar Homes


Create Real Estate

Burrington Estates

Airsprung Group


Work highlights

  • Assisted Renrod Holdings with the sale of two sites in Chippenham and Bath.
  • Handled the acquisition of a new office building at Bradley Business Park Huddersfield.
  • Advised on the acquisition of a new 20,086 sq ft office and a 22,000 sq ft decked car park for 172 vehicles in Oxfordshire.
  • Acted for Blue Cedar Homes on the acquisition of a major development site in Deddington.
  • Acted for Baylis Estates on the £750 000 acquisition of a site for development of industrial warehousing estate.


At VWV, the commercial property department brings together expertise in property acquisitions and disposals, property development, finance and investment, leases and relocations, and other projects. The practice is led by Steven McGuigan, whose client base mostly comprises property developers, local authorities, lenders and central government bodies. The firm has also built a strong reputation for advising religious and educational institutions, and also international energy companies. Jessica Booz and Simon Linnitt are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Steven McGuigan

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Booz; Simon Linnitt


Highly professional

The team delivers high-quality results in a speedy manner

The lawyers understand what the client’s objectives are, and work hard towards achieving them

Key clients

Airbus Operations Airbus Defence


University of Bristol

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

United Reformed Church

Essar Oil UK

St Vincent de Paul Society

Mainline Pipelines

Diocese of Truro

King Edward’s School

The Diocese of Gloucester

Oxford City Council


Wiltshire Council

Wing Yip

Crest Nicholson

Pell Frischmann

Homes England

Oxford Brookes University

Berkeley Homes

Faraday Developments

Soil Association

Bristol Waste Company

Thanet District Council

Poole Borough Council

Bath Spa University

Work highlights

  • Acted for the University of Bristol on the £20m leasehold acquisition of a new student accommodation development in central Bristol.
  • Advised the University of Reading on the disposal of a significant landholding by the client.
  • Advised the United Church Schools Foundation on the £10m property and business sale of Bournemouth Collegiate School to overseas investors.
  • Advising a council on the land agreements required for National Grid’s IFA2 project.
  • Advising Henry Boot Developments on the terms of a conditional contract and an option agreement with landowner Summerfield Estates for the development of a 100-acre site.