Commercial property: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in South West

Ashfords LLP

Energy and waste, public sector real estate, and residential-led developments make up the portfolio of local and national work that has kept the team at Ashfords LLP busy in recent times. Kate Topp heads the practice from the firm’s Bristol office. In Exeter, Robin De Wreede advises on real estate matters, including large-scale regeneration and development projects. His Exeter colleagues Tim Heal and Simon Bailey focus on residential development matters and real estate investment, respectively. James Heath, who heads up the Plymouth-based team, is a key name to note for secured lending matters. Emma Warren, who often leads on the firm’s energy work, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Kate Topp

Other key lawyers:

Robin De Wreede; Tim Heal; Simon Bailey; James Heath; Emma Warren


‘The Ashfords commercial property team are experienced and business-like, and often bring much needed commercial common sense to complex property transactions. It’s hard to do better.’

‘Strong and well-led team.’

‘Responsive, knowledgeable of our sector, and understanding of our property requirements.’

‘Approachable, commercial, sensible.’


Key clients

Exeter Science Park Limited (“ESPL”)

Aster Group


Barratt/David Wilson Homes

Crest Nicholson

Vistry Homes

Vistry Partnerships

Countryside Properties

The Cavanna Group

Morrish Homes

CG Fry & Son

Burrington Estates.

LiveWest Homes Limited

Cornerstone Housing


Stonewater Limited

Sovereign Housing Association

London Borough of Wandsworth

Brick by Brick Croydon Limited

HFL Group Limited

Maidstone Borough Council

Biffa Waste Services Limited

Viridor Limited

Compass Children’s Homes

The Royal Parks Limited and TRP Trading Company Limited

Populo Living Limited

Post Office Limited

Ashford Borough Council

Darts Farm

Hitchcocks Business Park Limited

Exeter City Council

DP World London Gateway

Work highlights

  • Advised Ashford Borough Council in connection with a £250 million investment into the regeneration of 37,192 square metres of Grade 2 listed railway buildings and surrounding land.
  • Acted for Exeter City Council in the acquisition of Guildhall Shopping Centre.
  • Acted for a consortium of landowners in the sale of promoted land to Bloor Homes Limited, involving phosphate mitigation measures.

Michelmores LLP

The core pillars of Michelmores LLP‘s practice are commercial real estate and investment, residential development, energy, and the sustainable economy; the team’s recent advice regarding a UK-wide roll of habitat bank credits is testament to their capabilities in the latter. ‘Stand-out property lawyer' Lucy Smallwood leads the South West transactional practice, while Emma Honey, who has significant experience of advising on residential development work, heads the overall real estate department. Other key figures include Stephen Newson, whose expertise extends to corporate occupier mandates, and Richard Walford, who advises on a broad array of commercial property matters. Richard Honey and Chloe Howard-Smith are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Emma Honey; Lucy Smallwood

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Newson; Richard Walford; Richard Honey; Joanna Damerell; Chloe Howard-Smith


‘The team have an ability to quickly understand the client position, and consequently their experience of the market allows them to tailor a service that meets the client’s need.’

‘Lucy Smallwood is a stand-out property lawyer, experienced, knowledgeable but firm in her advice and negotiations which are inevitably successful. Lucy is also a kind lady, whose manner builds relationships and trust and always makes time to support the client when needed.’

‘The team – from top to bottom – provide excellent customer service and a drive to be commercial in their advice on complex commercial property transactions, all led by a senior management team that demonstrates this.’

‘Commercial, available and experienced.’

‘Michelmores are one of the best legal practices I have worked with.’

‘Richard Honey is a pleasure to work with. He also has in-depth expertise and is always prepared to acknowledge the limitations of his personal knowledge and call upon others to support, who have not let me down.

‘Jo Damerell stands alone. A brilliant lawyer who knows her discipline inside out and is fantastically tenacious in her dealings. ’


Key clients

Residential Development

BDW Trading Limited (Barratt Homes)

Persimmon Homes Limited

C G Fry & Son Limited

Wain Homes (South West) Limited

Cavanna Homes Limited

Vistry Homes Limited

Waddeton Park Limited (land promoter)

Commercial Real Estate

Holland & Barrett Retail Limited

St Austell Brewery Company Limited

Brandpath Limited

Polar Capital Partners Limited

Crux Asset Management

LGAM Asset Management

Galilei Investment

IQVIA Limited

Peter Jones Group

Ashby Capital

Mole Valley Farms Limited

Oxygen House

La Prairie (part of the Beiersdorf Group)

Eagle One Investments Limited

Haven Investments Limited

Escapade Silverstone Limited

Rowe Estates

Exeter Golf and Country Club

UK Agricultural Lending

Skypark Development Partnership LLP


Dartington Hall Trust


Zestec Asset Management



Downing LLP

Armstrong Energy




Cambridge Biomedical Campus Limited

The Environment Bank Limited


Aberystwyth University

University of Exeter

Weston College of FE

Public Sector

Torbay Council

Treveth Holdings LLP (development subsidiary of Cornwall Council)

Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Assisted Holland & Barrett on its UK property telecoms project.
  • Advising Environment Bank on its rollout of a UK-wide scheme of land acquisitions for the creation and maintenance of habitat credits.
  • Advised longstanding client Persimmon Homes Limited on a series of land acquisition and strategic land instructions.

Steele Raymond LLP

Portfolio management, property finance matters and corporate occupier work form key parts of the wide-ranging offering at Steele Raymond LLP. Practice co-chair Emma Stainwright, described as ‘an absolute marvel’, is acting on a growing number of joint venture residential development site acquisitions, while fellow co-head Chris Twaits has a niche focus on specialist pension property work. Chris Dolan regularly handles development projects on the south coast, while education sector specialist Christine Kessler-Robinson is particularly well versed in refinancing projects. Rosanna Parker is praised for her unwavering 'momentum' as well as her 'true empathy' in matters.

Practice head(s):

Chris Twaits; Emma Stainwright

Other key lawyers:

Chris Dolan; Christine Kessler-Robinson; Rosanna Parker


‘A team of experts who act collaboratively in dealing with issues.’

‘The team has a wide breadth of expertise, with a strong sense of credibility.’

‘Chris Twaits leads his team well, and acts as a valuable single point of contact for our wider relationship with the practice.’

Key clients

South Somerset District Council

Arun District Council

Jennings Bet

Drew Smith Limited

Hildon Limited

Broadshade Group Ltd

West Wales Airport Limited

World of Water Garden Centres

Charles Trent Limited

Birchmere Limited

Bournemouth Churches Housing Association

Harry J Palmer

AJC Developments



Hill Brush Company Limited

Stewarts Garden Centres

JGP Lakedale Limited

East Borough Housing Trust Limited

Framptons Café, Bar & Kitchen

Morrish Homes

Severnside Distribution Land Limited

Pennyfarthing Homes Limited

Salboy Limited

Redtale Group

Cullen Property Group

A C English Developments Limited

Addis Homes Limited

Koori Limited

CBRS Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Pennyfarthing Homes Limited in relation to a complex phosphate credits scheme.
  • Advised Armadillo Associates Limited in the taking of two leases of parts of ‘The Distillery’ office development in Bristol.
  • Advised the nationwide pump rental and sales business, Selwood, on the taking of a new lease of a facility in Liverpool.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Trowers & Hamlins LLP's varied offering encompasses inward investment as well as a wide range of commercial and residential investment and development work; the firm is particularly strong on complex urban regeneration projects involving multiple stakeholders from the private and public sector. Georgina Savill-James and Chris Rundle co-lead the Exeter real estate team; Savill-James, in particular, is noted for her expertise in residential property matters - including portfolio acquisition work.  Other central figures include Ben Neary, who has specific expertise in investment property disposal; Nicholas Burt, whose residential expertise includes high street funding mandates; and Gail White, who has a proven track record of acting for clients in the education sector.

Practice head(s):

Georgina Savill-James; Chris Rundle

Other key lawyers:

Ben Neary; Nicholas Burt; Gail White

Key clients

LiveWest Homes Limited

BoKlok Housing Limited

West Midlands Pension Fund

BioGains Ltd

Greendale Group

Exe Investment Limited

Burrington Estates (New Homes) Limited

Ravelin Housing Limited

Urban Logistics REIT

Abri Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for Urban Logistics REIT plc on the refinancing of their portfolio of over 100 properties to provide a loan facility of £210m.
  • Advised BoKlok (a joint venture between SKANSKA and IKEA) on the acquisition of land at Lakeside, Highbridge.
  • Advised West Midlands Pension Fund on the phased development and pre-letting of a mixed use industrial, retail and leisure and hospitality park in Bristol.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Plymouth-based but with a national reach, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP acts for a number of banks, housebuilders, and corporate occupiers across the commercial property spectrum, spanning real estate finance, institutional investment and residential development. The unit is steered by Craig Moore, whose property finance expertise is frequently brought to bear on high-profile mandates. Nicola Jonas, who shares leadership duties with Moore, is particularly well versed in landlord and tenant work. Her colleague Samantha Orluta frequently handles site acquisitions for developers and housing associations, while Krista McCarthy is a key name for clients from the manufacturing and retail sectors. Sarah Dinshaw and Will King stand out for their property portfolio acumen.

Practice head(s):

Craig Moore

Other key lawyers:

Nicola Jonas; Charles Hodder; Samantha Orluta; Christopher Stephens; Sarah Dinshaw; Will King

Key clients


West Devon District Council

University of Plymouth

Accor UK

Ministry of Justice

Eagle One

Ministry of Defence

GLH Hotels Limited

Plymouth Marjon University

Princess Yachts Limited

Brittany Ferries

West Berkshire District Council

Scottish Power Renewables


Innogy Renewables UK Limited

Lloyds Bank Plc

Wales & West Utilities

Nuon Renewables

Taylor Wimpey

English Cities Fund

Plymouth Community Homes




Rentplus Uk Limited

Barden Corporation


Padstow Town Council

Hertford Investors

Mount Wise (Devon) Limited

Cornwall Housing Limited

Plymouth City Council

Capital Home Loans

Cornwall College

Land Value Alliances

Bath & Bristol Regional Capital

Work highlights

  • Advising an international bank on a £36.9m loan to a Jersey based company in connection with the acquisition of a mixed-use development.
  • Acting as sole advisor to Rentplus UK Limited with their acquisition of properties from developers and subsequent placing of the properties into charge.
  • Acting for ME and Em Limited in respect of all of its real estate work including leases of retail stores and headquarters in London.

Foot Anstey

Developers, financial service providers and energy and infrastructure companies make up some of Foot Anstey‘s core client base. Regarded as ‘knowledgeable, commercial and practical', the firm handles mandates ranging from portfolio management to Shariah-compatible property transactions. Richard Sutton, who chairs the practice from the firm’s Exeter office, is well versed in property development matters. The Bristol-based Zahir Nayani is recommended for his expertise in Islamic finance. Philip Parrott, who joined the practice in July 2022, is a key contact for portfolio clients from the retail and energy sectors. Other names to note include Kate Dawe, whose commercial property expertise extends to leasing management.

Practice head(s):

Richard Sutton

Other key lawyers:

Zahir Nayani; Philip Parrott; Mark Li; Kate Dawe


‘Efficient in both handling and communicating.’

‘High level of communication and efficiency.’

‘Very personable, knowledgeable, commercial and practical.’

‘Mark Li is very approachable, extremely commercial, and very experienced. A great problem solver.’


Key clients

Riyad Bank, London Branch

ABC International Bank plc

BSR (British Solar Renewables)


EDF Energy

EDF Renewables/Pivot Power

EDF Thermal & Generation

EDF Nuclear New Build (Hinkley Point C & Sizewell C)

Work highlights

  • Advised Riyad Bank on their single largest shariah-compatible financing deal.

Lester Aldridge LLP

The ‘depth of knowledge and experience‘ at Lester Aldridge LLP is brought to bear on work relating to residential development, healthcare, hotel, and leisure sector transactions, to name a few. The Bournemouth-based team frequently works alongside the firm's Southampton office, and is additionally well regarded in the niche area of ports and marinas. The 'outstanding' seniors housing expert Mark Benham and enfranchising specialist Suki Samra serve as the Bournemouth-based practice heads, while Tom Alder oversees matters from Southampton.

Practice head(s):

Mark Benham; Suki Samra; Tom Alder

Other key lawyers:

Claire Kitchener


‘ Many other firms sit on the fence. Lester Aldridge does not, and this is the key difference for me.’

‘There is clearly no other firm in the country who has handled as many retirement site acquisitions as Mark Benham.’

‘We are always impressed by the depth of knowledge and experience within the team.’

‘We have found Mark Benham to be an outstanding lawyer with a clearly evident depth of knowledge and experience in the real estate sector.’

‘The depth of experience and the team’s appetite for getting stuck into the market means they are always able to provide real-world advice, find a resolution, or complete a transaction.’

‘Suki Samra’s ability to apply his breadth of real-world experience in a commercially minded yet creative way is unparalleled.

‘Claire Kitchener’s direct, client-focused approach makes transactions appear seamless.’

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone

Yorkshire Building Society

Allica Bank

Lloyds Bank plc

Shawbrook Bank

Care South

Affordable Housing & Healthcare Group

Generation Home

University of Southampton

Big Yellow

Work highlights

  • Advised Yorkshire Building Society on over 200 matters nationwide in 2022, including a refinance of a property portfolio of 62 properties.
  • Advised Allica Bank on over 500 secured lending matters in 2022.

Stephens Scown LLP

Well known in the market for mining development, Stephens Scown LLP is also highly experienced in landlord and tenant matters, land development, conveyancing, and portfolio management. Michael Beadel leads a team which includes Keith Wright, noted for his focus on rural housing initiatives; Simon Harding, who frequently assists clients with high-value transactional work, and Charles Hodder, whose expertise extends to cross-jurisdictional transactions – particularly those involving UK targets and overseas buyers. Toby Pool is noted for his capabilities in the licensed trade, healthcare and holiday parks sectors, while Kate Westlake possesses significant experience of handling commercial leases for both landlords and tenants. Mark Forsey is well-placed to advise on strategic land acquisitions.

Practice head(s):

Michael Beadel

Other key lawyers:

Keith Wright; Simon Harding; Charles Hodder; Toby Pool; Kate Westlake; Mark Forsey

Work highlights

  • Advising Kingsley Developments International Limited on sale of development site with outline planning consent for 225 homes.
  • Advising Holland & Barrett on a range of property portfolio management issues and transactional matters.
  • Providing real estate advice on Imerys’ mineral operations, including St Austell China Clay areas, the largest mineral open-working area in the UK.

Blanchards Bailey LLP

Acting primarily for clients from the agricultural sector, Blanchards Bailey LLP‘s expertise extends to advice on refinancing and tax structuring issues. The ‘highly experienced‘ practice head Robin Cole, who divides his time between Dorchester and Blandford Forum, specialises in development and investment issues such as acquisitions and disposals. His colleague Sarah Dunlop is noted for her expertise in land law, tenancies and farming partnerships.

Practice head(s):

Robin Cole

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Dunlop


‘Blanchards’ pricing is generally more competitive than other comparable firms we have used, and we consider them to be very good value.’

‘Robin Cole is a highly experienced lawyer.’

‘Good local practice with a team which understands what is required.’

Key clients

Tarhinton Farm Limited

CMS Developments Limited

Andersen Consulting

Westcoast Developments Limited

Kingston Maurward College

Stonecombe Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising multiple landowners on separate renewables option and option for lease for a renewables site exceeding 1000 acres.
  • Advising landowner in respect of land purchase and multi-million pound refinance in a multi-party refinance and purchase transaction.
  • Acting on the promotion of a 200 acre garden market scheme involving, inter alia, co-operation agreement between landowners, profit sharing and equalisation arrangements.

Frettens LLP

Noted for its capabilities in landlord and tenant matters, Frettens LLP also leverages the team’s ‘diverse knowledge’ to advise on property finance mandates and work related to development site acquisitions. The practice is jointly led by Oonagh McKinney and Ben Cobb, who operate from Christchurch and Ringwood, respectively. Niki Adkins – who was promoted to partner in July 2022 –heads up the firm’s residential leasehold sub-department, and is well-placed to handle statutory lease extensions.

Practice head(s):

Oonagh McKinney; Ben Cobb

Other key lawyers:

Niki Adkins; Clare Hallett


‘Good team with good diverse knowledge.’

‘Niki Adkins and her team were a pleasure to work with while renegotiating a lease on a flat.’

‘We have used Frettens several times over the past few years, and are always impressed with their professionalism.’

Key clients

Sandude Limited

H. Taylor & Son (Brockley) Limited

Frampton Estates Limited

BG Motor Sport Limited

Sippdeal Trustees Limited and Donald James Grace and Timothy Grace

Bournemouth English Book Centre Limited

Blossom Hill Investments

Zaylee and Sam Broomfield

Individuality Swimming Limited

Longham 140 Limited

MCM Productions Limited

Plough Properties Limited

Dawson and King Limited

Aspire Property Holdings Limited

Caleb Development Limited

Connie Rothman Learning Trust

Terry Astin

Wharfdale Limited

Lock Investments (Gore) LLP and Hurst Castle Limited

Emerald Care Providers Ltd

Michelle Holley

Dan Fellows

Emma and Steve Jackson

Andrew and Helen Berry

Rose Homes (South) Limited

Drinkwater Estates Limited

Addpad Limited

MCA Aviation Limited

New Forest Leather Limited

Nicholas O’Hara Funeral Directors Limited

Cuckooland Limited

Parkway Derby Limited

Ringwood Town Council

Frampton Investments Limited

Swanns Developments Limited

Classroom Hubs Limited

Cofield Limited

Stuart and Julian Knight

Lewis Manning Hospice Care

KTO (Fareham) and KTO (Reading)

New Forest Clothing Company Limited

Sleek Technology Limited

Bo-Ness Limited

Apex Developers Limited

John Hutchence

Work highlights

  • Acting for Dawson and King Limited on ongoing asset management issues including grant of new leases and negotiation of a bridleway with the local authority through the estate.
  • Acting for Caleb Developments Limited on the back to back purchase of development sites.
  • Acting for KTO on obtaining a complex licence for alterations and agreements for leases dealing with planning, building control approval and obtaining a premises licence.

GA Solicitors

GA Solicitors advises across secured lending, residential development, renewable energy work and sale arrangements for housebuilders. The Plymouth-based team is headed up by David Stone, who has significant experience of handling landlord and tenant matters for commercial property. His colleague Lucy Foster frequently acts for independent lenders on development finance work. Tony Dupreez is a key contact for developers based in the region, while Hannah Madders is particularly strong on secured lending work.

Practice head(s):

David Stone

Other key lawyers:

Lucy Foster; Tony Dupreez; Hannah Madders

Key clients

Harvey’s Foundry Trust

Peninsula Finance plc

The Cary Estate

Harrier LLC

Arbuthnot Commercial Banking

National Westminster Bank plc

O’Connell Family Trusts

Michael Spiers (Jewellers) Limited

Barclays Bank plc

ERS Transition Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Michael Spiers (Jewellers) Limited in its taking of new flagship store lease at Cathedral Yard, Exeter.
  • Acting for the trustees of the Cary A Fund in relation to the purchase of an industrial estate in Paignton subject to 18 long leasehold interests.
  • Acting for Peninsula Finance Plc in connection with a loan facility for the acquisition and redevelopment of a former nursing home.

Murrell Associates LLP

Described as a ‘firm that punches well above its weight in the hospitality and green energy sectors', Murrell Associates LLP advises on a broad set of issues, ranging from site assembly requirements of solar farms to refinancings. Practice head David Williams has significant expertise in matters concerning corporate occupiers. Alongside him in the firm’s Truro office, the ‘pragmatic’ renewables specialist Jenny Harbord's recent focus is especially concentrated in the solar energy space. Caroline Daly, who provides key support to both Williams and Harbord, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

David Williams

Other key lawyers:

Jenny Harbord; Caroline Daly


‘A very strong team, knowledgeable and dynamic with industry specific focus as well as commercial awareness of complimentary interrelated disciplines such as financing and real estate.’

‘Jenny Harbord is pragmatic with industry-wide experience.’

‘A small, friendly and very knowledgeable team. Hard-working and very capable.’

Key clients

St Austell Brewery Company Limited

Ib Vogt GmbH

Kronos Solar Projects GmbH

Jackamax Limited

Farm Energy Company

Hub Box Limited

Ascot Lloyd

FirmaVogt Solar Limited

Clayworks Limited

Trevissome Park Limited

Richardson Hotels Holdings Limited

Cornwall Adventure Limited

Cornish Scrumpy Holdings Limited

Red Hotels Limited

Pritchmor Holdings Limited

Tasman House Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Ascot Lloyd on the management of their growing national portfolio fuelled by a series of private equity backed bolt-ons to their group.
  • Advising C Space (Cornwall) Limited through their re-fi to Tridos and re-gearing of lettings at their business incubator and co-working space in Newquay.
  • Advising Farm Energy Company Limited on the assembly of their proposed 49.9 MW solar farm development from eight landowners in West Yorkshire.


Wolferstans‘ commercial property team has a strong focus on acting for business clients and SME developers, with site acquisitions, strategic land assemblies, and school conversions among the unit’s strengths. Development specialist Arash Dinari leads the Plymouth team. His colleague Paul Bramall draws praise for his ability to complete lease reassignments ‘at very short notice’, while Pippa Tanner Wood is well versed in managing leasehold portfolios.

Practice head(s):

Arash Dinari

Other key lawyers:

Paul Bramall; Pippa Tanner Wood


‘Paul Bramall has been excellent to work with. We had a lease reassignment to complete at very short notice, and he led his team to ensure that all the timeframes were met.’

‘Very knowledgeable on subject matter. Able to co-ordinate with other members within the firm in specialist areas. Advice is clear and provided in a timely manner.’

‘Subject knowledge, practical approach to resolving issues, and clear explanation of complex areas.’


Key clients

Plymouth Argyle Football Club

Pro-Direct Sports Group

Hemming Group Limited

Education South West

Westcountry Schools Trust

Work highlights

  • Acted for Harrington Homes (SW) Limited in their conditional purchase of a multiphased, 240 house residential development.
  • Acted for the Pro-Direct Sports Group in connection with their acquisition of the 200,000 sq ft warehouse.
  • Acted for Hemming Group Limited in connection with the sale and leaseback of their London premises.


The ‘highly responsive’ team at Wollens is a popular choice for clients from the hospitality and leisure sector, as well as charities. Torquay-based practice head Ashley Bevans – ‘as good as they come’ –  has noteworthy experience of handling sales and purchases of licensed premises. Emma Reed is praised for her ‘accurate, articulate, and knowledgeable' approach to negotiations. Simon Wilson and Hayley Green are further key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Bevans

Other key lawyers:

Emma Reed; Simon Wilson; Hayley Green


‘The team is highly responsive to communications and gives a personable yet professional service.’

‘Emma Reed has been our main contact and is accurate, articulate, and knowledgeable during negotiations.’

‘ Ashley Bevans’ advice is always proportionate, practical and pragmatic.’

‘Ashley Bevans is as good as they come.’

‘Hayley Green is amazing. Very knowledgeable, helpful and offers perfect personal, individual treatment.’

‘The team are able to work on multiple transactions at once. I deal with an all-female team of solictors and paralegals which is good to see!’

‘Emma Reed is a very safe and trusted pair of hands.’

‘The team works very well together to find solutions for their clients.’

Key clients

RSPCA North Wiltshire and Newbury Branch

Breakwater Bistro Limited

Rockfish Ltd Salcombe

Work highlights

  • Acted for the vendor in the complex £2.1m disposal of a prominent food and drinks premises with ancillary recreational premises, as a going concern.
  • Acting for occupational architect tenant in connection with the £750k purchase and lease back of their premises.
  • Acting for landlord client in grant of a lease of commercial premises and site following a tax restructure and consideration of £2.7m.