The 'collaborative, dynamic and flexible' team at Lester Aldridge LLP sees its main fields of activity in residential and development work as well as in lender, residential and leasehold work. It has experience in the care and later-living space, affordable housing and self-storage industry. Enfranchisement specialist Suki Samra and Mark Benham, who is a key practitioner in property development questions, lead the group. Lucy Stevens also advises port authorities and senior associate Rebecca Humm has planning expertise.
Commercial property: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in South West
Mark Benham; Suki Samra
Other key lawyers:
Fiona Oliver; Lucy Stevens; Rebecca Humm; Roger Woolley
‘A business focussed on delivery and collaboration.’
‘LA are unique due their personal approach and their ability to transfer skills and specialties within their business to ensure that all areas of the required work are covered off.’
‘Mark Benham is always very happy to assist and provide in depth knowledge of the development and property law.’
‘The team at Lester Aldridge are incredibly knowledgeable but most importantly pragmatic in their approach to dealing with complex transactions. They guided us through the problems ensuring we understood the issue and how to overcome it efficiently. They were not afraid to put us straight when we diverted off course but did so in a constructive manner. Their communication has been top notch.’
‘Mark Benham and Fiona Oliver have been exceptional throughout.’
‘The team are collaborative, dynamic and flexible to meet their client’s needs; no matter the hour or day of the week! Having the client at the forefront of the team’s mind and wanting to know how they can exceed expectations will always give them the edge over competitors.’
‘The personnel will find solutions to any problem and ensure the client is kept well informed to a satisfactory conclusion – both in terms of results and value for money. The knowledge of the development cycle ranging from the public to private is outstanding backed by experience. It doesn’t matter what your legal requirements are: – From a small housing scheme, hotels, large retirement projects, BtR (multi and family), large housing schemes or advice on dispute – they have it.’
‘They are always available no matter the time or day of week which is imperative in the current market place to ensure the client has the best available service and advice as and when needed. Roger Woolley stands out; it seems no matter what obstacle is thrown his way, a solution is found.’
McCarthy & Stone plc
Yorkshire Building Society
Lloyds Bank plc
- Advised Allica Bank on over 200 transactions in 2020, having worked closely with the client and its IT team.
- Advised McCarthy & Stone on the acquisition and development of hundreds of new housing sites, including purchase of a large site in Hampshire owned by Solent University by way of a joint venture with a regional open market housebuilder.
- Advising Forelle Estates on a letting in Poole to SpaMedica, one of the leading providers of NHS eye patient services. T
At Michelmores LLP, the ‘combined experience and knowledge of the team is brought to the table, inspiring confidence in the options and advice provided.’ The members advise on residential developments; assisting landowners, estates, developers and promoters on strategic land matters. The group also has considerable experience in the public sector. Emma Honey acts for both, landlords and tenants, in relevant cases and is well versed in the education field. She jointly leads the practice with Lucy Smallwood, who is a go-to counsel for house builders, developers and land owners. Joanna Damerell is another well-regarded member of the team.
Emma Honey; Lucy Smallwood
Other key lawyers:
Joanna Damerell; Stephen Newson
‘The team very quickly grasp the essence of each commission and contribute positively to setting out the options, exploring innovative solutions and clearly articulating the benefits and the risks involved. The combined experience and knowledge of the team is brought to the table, inspiring confidence in the options and advice provided – including the advice which we somethimes would rather not hear. ’
‘Joanna Damerell sets the standard for the highly responsive and high quality service we have come to expect. This provides us with confidence that in every transaction our interests will be represented in a timely and thorough manner with a high degree of professionalism when dealing with all parties. ’
‘Capacity to upscale team quickly, providing top notch service and advice yet being regional practice and totally accessible.’
‘Lucy Smallwood: probably the best real estate lawyer I have ever worked with – amazing ability to be bright, commercial, calm, but also disarming with the ‘other side’ to be able to get the point across without confrontation.’
‘The team has huge experience in the Police and Security world with their unique requirements around property law, selling and leasing etc. The service and prompt response within the property team is second to none.’
‘There willingness to adapt and innovate looking at problems from a different angle. Also their responsiveness to requests.’
‘It is difficult for any real estate practice to be unique in such a crowded market. The sustainability partnership we have signed with the firm and their committment to it, stands them out from other firms. ’
‘Stephen Newson gets the deal done with the minimum amount of fuss. He collaborates exceptionally well with our in house team which embeds efficiency and trust.’
Barratt David Wilson
Clinton Devon Estates
Local Authorities (various including Cornwall Council)
Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime
St Modwen Developments
University of Exeter
Steele Raymond LLP fields a team of practitioners with a range of specialities; it covers lease renegotiations, rent concessions and surrenders, and SIPP and SSAS pension property investment matters. Its clients include investors and occupiers, developers and landowners. Team head Chris Twaits is a key advisor in the latter. Jennifer Rogerson is knowledgeable in retail landlord and tenant work, and Emma Stainwright specialises in social housing development. Carol Elliott is a 'is a very safe pair of hands' and senior associate Johanna Hammersley is a SIPP and SSAS expert.
Other key lawyers:
Jennifer Rogerson; Emma Stainwright; Carol Elliott; Chris Dolan; Johanna Hammersley
‘The strength of any business is its ability to perform when faced with difficulty, no more so than our last sale dealt with by Steele Raymond in the midst of the pandemic and the restrictions of lockdown requiring the partners to work from home. The complexities of the sale did not hold up its progress , with the help different partners expertise being available when needed to enable a successful and speedy conclusion in the knowledge that we had received the legal advice and protection we needed as trustees of the property. ’
‘Chris Twaits has consistently shown to be efficient, knowledgeable, thorough and timely with every matter he has carried out for me. Always very accessible, easy to talk to and discuss concerns he gives you the confidence that the case will be concluded successfully. Unlike so many, you do not have to chase to find out about progress, he keeps you well informed, which takes the weight of the burden away from the time you have instructed.’
‘Very responsive and intelligent. Practical commercial advice that focused on commercial needs. ’
‘The property team at Steele Raymond are proactive, helpful and provide me with shrewd solutions and the advice I need to negotiate contracts to get the result I am aiming for. They are approachable, organised and often positively exceed expectations’
‘Johanna Hammersley: outstanding performance and conscientious dedication to get the job done. Always available and returned emails on her days off. Exceptionally conscientious. Absolute attention to detail. Working with financial advisors for a really efficient outcome. Jo went above and beyond. The advice she gave dealing with a party wall and the complications that went with this transaction were second to none. I could not have had a better solicitor. Truly grateful for all Jo’s hard work and very pleasant disposition.’
‘Great strategic review and then a tailored lease which chimed with condition of the units on our estate’
‘Most recently we have worked with Emma Stainwright knows her stuff – and all discussions and meetings I have had with her have been carried off with huge professionalism and a large dose of humour which we find refreshing. Always approachable, my team agree that she is a delight to deal with.’
‘Carol Elliott is a very safe pair of hands. We have used Carol’s service on at least 5 occasions and her advice and guidance has always helped us reach the required goal. She is very approachable, responsive and very attentive.’
South Somerset District Council
Broadshade Group Ltd
West Wales Airport Limited
World of Water Garden Centres
Charles Trent Limited
Pivotal Homes Group
Bournemouth Churches Housing Association
Harry J Palmer
Hill Brush Company Limited
Stewarts Garden Centres
JGP Lakedale Limited
East Borough Housing Trust Limited
Framptons Café, Bar & Kitchen
- Advised South Somerset District Council on the acquisition of a Fitness First investment in Poole.
- Acted for AECC University College on the acquisition of St Thomas Garnet’s School in Bournemouth.
- Advised Severnside Distribution Land Limited on the ongoing development and sale of plots at Central Park, Severnside, one of the largest strategic distribution warehouse schemes in the South West of England.
Trowers & Hamlins LLP has a 'huge and diverse reach, both in terms of geography and disciplines.' It is active in the development and property investment areas, and is regularly instructed by local authorities, institutional investors, national house builders and Real Estate Investment Trusts. The group also works closely with the firm's construction and planning teams. Transaction specialists Georgina Savill-James and Chris Rundle, and the London-based Sara Bailey lead the practice. Ben Neary has know-how in the retail, leisure, industrial and office sectors. Managing associate Gail White is a key contact for public and private sector clients alike.
Georgina Savill James; Chris Rundle; Sara Bailey
Other key lawyers:
Ben Neary; Gail White; Nicholas Burt
‘Highly qualified multi disciplinary team who are very client focused.’
‘Very responsive and they totally understand the need to be commercial as opposed to strict legal interpretations.’
‘Ben Neary has dealt with multiple transactions in a timely and thorough fashion, bringing in other experts where necessary such as tax.’
‘The practice offers a “London” level of expertise at a local level with a local level of pricing.’
‘The Trowers team for Dorset, Devon and Cornwall are excellent. They are responsive, highly proactive, and unlike many other solicitors are always happy to pick up the phone to opposing solicitors to talk through complex issues. They are also very good at cutting through the more peripheral issues and getting to the heart of any problems during a negotiation which makes the transaction process far more expedient. Lastly, whilst not necessary a demonstration of their legal abilities but more a customer care point, they stand by their initially quoted fees even if ‘time on the clock’ exceeds the initial assumptions.’
‘In particular I would recommend Nicholas Burt; he has an exceptional attitude to the work (extremely thorough, diligent and quick) and his clients.’
‘They have a huge and diverse reach, both in terms of geography and disciplines. The team interact with one another to meets all client/stakeholder needs and ensure that all parties are kept “in the loop” to achieve a successful outcome.’
Vistry Homes Limited
LiveWest Homes Limited
British Telecommunications plc
Swan Commercial Services Limited
Urban Logistics REIT plc
Arbuthnot Latham Private Bank
Gloucester City Council
- Assisted the Yarlington Housing Group with the purchase of land at Crome Road, Lockleaze, Bristol.
- Advised LiveWest on the security aspects of the second phase issue of LiveWest’s Medium Term Note Programme, which is a £1bn fund.
- Acted for BT on the negotiation of the lease of its new Birmingham base at Three Snowhill, in a deal with M&G Real Estate and developers Ballymore.
Led by the 'stand-out and exemplar' Craig Moore, the team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP is an established go-to practice for lenders, investors, developers, property receivers, public bodies, charities, and education institutions. It has a particular strength in the property finance field, portfolio management, LPA receiverships and landlord-tenant matters. Another name to note is legal director Samantha Orluta; she is well versed in residential housing developments.
Other key lawyers:
Samantha Orluta; Christopher Stephens
‘Team players working with colleagues in different areas of expertise and different offices do so, from a client’
‘Knowledgeable with a commercially minded with a pragmatic approach; the hallmarks of quality legal advisors. Seamless service through Covid19 period. Accessible and responsive; important key attributes.’
‘This team has good Technology. They are able to have leases signed electronically and have systems to scan leases for errors and omissions saving time which is cost at the end of the day.’
‘Craig Moore – always available and quick to react. ’
‘WBD’s attentiveness, the ease with which I am able to contact appropriate partners & members of their teams, and speed of response sets them apart. WBD are proactive in their approach, for example in suggesting 3 or 4 way telecons/Team/Zoom meets with bank, client, clients’ lawyers & WBD is really effective. They are very effective in proactively suggesting, & willingly agree to realistic deadlines in order to achieve desired outcomes.’
‘Craig Moore is a stand-out & exemplar of what a Real Estate Bank/Banker is looking for in my view. Craig is positive, easily accessible & willing to enter into the details of legal issues surrounding deals , offering practical solutions. Craig is also effective in marshalling members of his team, as well as those in other disciplines, for example Construction Documentation. This occurs seamlessly, with no noticeable interruption, even where other colleagues are working for example in Leeds office.’
‘Quick response and easy to talk to and understand.’
‘There is a regular update from WBD that assists in keeping a good overview of matters in progress. ’
West Devon District Council
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Defence
GLH Hotels Limited
University of St Mark & St John
West Berkshire District Council
Scottish Power Renewables
Innogy Renewables UK Limited
Lloyds Bank Plc
Wales & West Utilities
Teignbridge District Council
English Cities Fund
Plymouth Community Homes
Padstow Town Council
Cornwall Housing Limited
Plymouth City Council
Capital Home Loans
- Advised English Cities Fund (ECF) on the acquisition of a major residential development site named Quadrant Wharf in Plymouth.
- Assisting the University of Plymouth in supporting their growth and advising on all of its real estate work.
- Acting for James Walker Group in respect of all of its real estate work including leases of office accommodation at their headquarters in Woking.
Ashfords LLP's skillset is broad; it acts for clients such as house builders, registered providers, contractors and investors, among others, in a wide range of real estate matters. The team, which offers 'sound commercial advice', is regularly active in projects, developments and urban regeneration. Practice head Kate Topp is experienced in sales and purchases of properties. Tim Heal advises on the development of residential and commercial property. Emma Warren is another key contact.
Other key lawyers:
Tim Heal; Emma Warren; Andrew Worley; Simon Bailey; Annika Gleeson
‘A team of experienced knowledgeable property professionals offering sound commercial advice.’
‘One area of service I greatly appreciated in my interaction with the Andrew Worley was his willingness and ability to be flexible with the scope of the engagement as the discussions evolved over time. Andrew balanced the needs of getting the job done with keeping clarity around the terms of the engagement. Communications with respect to anticipated fees and the overall fees were clear and fair. This gave me a reassurance that Andrew was cognizant of the value of the fees being accrued and the quality of service needed.’
‘The team were great in handling our legal implications. Nothing was too much trouble and they were on hand to answer and deal with any questions that arose. The explained everything to us in layman’s terms and didn’t confuse the situation at all. Everyone we dealt with was friendly, professional & knowledgeable.’
C J Fry
DP London Gateway
Mendip District Council
Pennon Group PLC
Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall
Sovereign Housing Association
Vistry Homes and Vistry Partnerships
Wandsworth London Borough Council
- Assisting Pennon’s in-house legal team with the sale of Viridor Limited by Pennon Group Plc to Planets UK Bidco Limited, a newly formed company established by funds advised by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P.
- Acting for Vistry Homes Limited on a complex Joint Venture Agreement for the construction and sale of 200 homes on 11.2 acres.
- Acting for the landlord DP London Gateway on the letting of a 231,000 sq ft distribution centre to a European logistics services.
Foot Anstey is appreciated for its 'willingness to look outside the box for a solution.' The real estate practice is regularly instructed by developers, landowners, investors, corporate occupiers and infrastructure companies. It has particularly strong expertise in the retail and leisure, financial services, and energy and infrastructure sectors. Development specialists Martin Hirst and Richard Sutton lead the team, which also includes infrastructure practitioner Richard Walford and John Catchpole, who handles commercial property projects.
Martin Hirst; Richard Sutton
Other key lawyers:
Richard Walford; John Catchpole; Mark Li; Zahir Nayani; Nicola Jonas
‘My experience over many years has certainly been exceptional. A large part of this is down to Richard Sutton; he is a wholly trusted adviser. They have added significant specialism. Thus far at least they have maintained their trusted adviser status.’
‘Richard Sutton is our relationship partner. He is excellent and a key adviser; if Richard says ‘stop’, I stop; no other professional adviser has that impact on me. He is calm, thoughtful, intelligent and a problem-solver; most importantly of all he puts his clients’ interests at the forefront.’
‘A collegiate approach and the extra effort behind the scenes to ensure each member of the team is completely in the picture and able to think ahead for the client.’
‘Nicola Jonas, – simply “gets it”, has a really broad appreciation of the wider commercial and business issues that companies are facing and continually incorporates this knowledge in the provision of the advice that is highly practical.’
‘Foot Anstey are our go-to solicitors, they have a wide range of knowledge and experience and are also willing to look outside the box for a solution.’
First Group PLC
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Mole Valley Farmers
Plymouth Argyle Football Club
Bournemouth-based Laceys is known for acting for residential and commercial property developers, investors, and clients active in the hotel, hospitality, care home and student accommodation sectors. The team is active in the full range of property transactions and led by Mark Preece, who also advises on enfranchisement questions. Jonathan Ogden is also a key contact for house builders.
Other key lawyers:
Jonathan Ogden; John Munro; Claire Taylor
‘Members of the team have been a breath of fresh air for the industry. Communication is instant, flexibility to resolve issues is prominent, estimated time frames are always accurate and billing is always fair. They all have recommended the best person in their field to assist with any matter we have had.’
‘Jonathan Ogden acts for us and is an extremely valued asset of our professional team, he has a detailed and wide ranging knowledge of the property industry.’
‘The expertise of each individual is outstanding with all of the team sharing the same culture of being down to earth and approachable.’
Affinity Care Group Limited
Bracken Developments Limited
Britannia Parking Group Limited
Buckinghamshire Group Limited
Clark & Brassington Partnership
Direct Insurance Group PLC
Extreme Assets LLP
Extreme Exhibitions Limited
Harlequin Homes Limited
Home Grown Hotels Limited
Lloyds Bank Plc
Macrae Capital Limited
Mploy Staffing Solutions Limited
National Westminster Bank PLC
Wilson & Sharp Developments/Holdings
Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP's core areas of activity are residential and commercial development, property management, secured lending and portfolio growth. The group also works closely with the firm's corporate department in property due diligences and other relevant work. Timothy Sharpley has know-how in restrictive covenants, while Matthew Clake is well versed in landlord and tenant matters.
Timothy Sharpley; Matthew Clake
‘Ellis Jones are very responsive and ready to support their clients with professionalism, energy and focus. Ellis Jones are the complete legal firm and certainly the best that I have dealt with in business.’
‘Matthew Clake deals with all of our property transactions and he deals with this demanding volume of work with humour, professionalism and innovation. Matt is always at the end of a phone to offer quick advice and really does think about what is right and fair for his clients. A standout legal partner.’
‘Special mention of Matt Clake who is my main contact and the reason why I use Ellis Jones. Good ability and responds quickly with requested information.’
Local Property Developer
Regional Property Developer
Owner/Occupier and Investor
- Advised a regional property developer on the purchase of a development site.
Frettens LLP is noted for its 'knowledge, experience and professionalism' in the commercial property space. The team has know-how in transactions involving hotels, restaurants, industrial and retail units as well as in matters relating to lease extensions and enfranchisements. It is led by Oonagh McKinney, Ben Cobb and Niki Adkins. Fiona Knight gives 'excellent advice.'
Oonagh McKInney; Ben Cobb; Niki Adkins
Other key lawyers:
Fiona Knight; Kerry Martin
‘Good team. Good experience for the area that we operate in.’
‘Friendly and efficient.’
‘Strong team, with a depth of knowledge.’
‘We worked very closely with Fiona Knight, and she was very professional. She gave excellent advice and was always available to help in a timely manner.’
‘Since we started to use Frettens we’ve been extremely satisfied with the whole teams knowledge, experience and professionalism and it’s filled us full of confidence that our transactions will be completed with our interests always at the front.’
‘Fiona Knight and Kerry Martin. These two individuals were a great help to us with our transactions. Fiona & Kerry were both very quick to respond to any queries we had and was very professional in their approach, constantly keeping in communication on how our transaction was progressing.’
‘Fiona Knight; her attention to detail was outstanding and this was mirrored by her team who handled various parts of the completion process. ’
‘Just very friendly and helpful.’
Pivotal Housing Association
Raymond Brown Will Trust
Taylor Grey Homes Limited
Fox Hound Capital
Stephens Investments Limited
Nite International Ltd
RRPI (UK) Limited
JJE Capital Holdings Limited
Larch Housing Association
Yale Housing Association
Beds R Uzz
Bloom Social Housing
Frampton Estates Limited
Complete Active Limited
8 Dol Limited
Park Place Properties
Regional Express Limited
Charter Tech Limited
Priory Investment Group Limited
Farmhouse Care Home Ltd
Verwood Surplus Stores Limited
- Acting for trustee Quantuma in a bankruptcy in relation to option to grant lease of roof space of building for development.
- Advising STARS Dorset on taking two new leases of office premises to relocate headquarters as well as ongoing property advice.
- Assisted Nite International Ltd with the acquisition of y freehold industrial unit including acquisition of shareholding in freehold estate management company.
GA Solicitors handles landlord and tenant matters; developments; acquisitions, sales and investments; leasehold enfranchisement; and licensing work. The team, which stands out for its 'excellent communication', has experience in the healthcare and renewable energy sectors. Team head David Stone has more than 25 years of experience. Lucy Foster is well versed in secured lending matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Practical legal advice in the commercial team for a national lender, excellent communication and high level of experience in wide range of property law’
‘Well-run firm with a diverse team who can assist with most legal issues.’
Gerrick Rose Animal Trust
Peninsula Finance Plc
The Cary Estate
Arbuthnot Commercial Banking
National Westminster Bank plc
Newton Abbot Races Limited
Michael Spiers (Jewellers) Limited
Barclays Bank plc
ERS Transition Limited
- Acting for Data Intensity Limited in relation to the grant of a sublease of a London EC1 office building.
- Acting for the lender Peninsula Finance Plc in connection with a loan facility to a property development company for the redevelopment of an office block.
- Acting for Trustees of Purple Dot Limited Directors Pension Scheme on the purchase of Seaton Beach Café subject to an occupational lease and dealing with various issues arising regarding lack of access of rights and deficiencies in the form of occupational lease.
Stephens Scown LLP
Stephens Scown LLP handles leases, tenancy agreements, property transactions and investments, and planning matters. It has know-how in the mining, agriculture and renewable energy sectors. The key contacts are Nigel Coveney, Keith Wright and Tim Atkins.
Other key lawyers:
Nigel Coveney; Keith Wright; Tim Atkins
Trethowans LLP is regularly involved in acquisitions and disposals in the residential development space and sees increased property investment work. Other fields of activity for the group are commercial property pension transactions, property finance, and landlord and tenant matters. Practice head Paul Longman also has capabilities in insolvencies. Garry Treagust advises on pension property matters and Guy Morgan specialises in the healthcare sector.
Other key lawyers:
Garry Treagust; Gareth Yeoman;
Lloyds Bank Plc
Santander UK Plc
HSBC Bank Plc
James Hay Pension Trustees Limited
Vivid Housing Association
Rowanmoor Trustees Limited
Ladbrokes Coral Limited
Stannah Lifts Holdings Limited
Legal & General Assurance Society Limited
- Acted for a consortium of international shareholders, SPV, as Tenant in £20m agreement for lease and associated documentation subject to planning.
- Advising ReAssure on the transfer of c33 SIPP properties from Legal & General as part of the transfer of all L&G business assets to ReAssure –under Part VII of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
- Representing the partners of the Concord Medical Centre, Bristol on the surrender by University Hospital Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust of an existing lease at the Medical Centre and the grant of a new lease of a chemotherapy unit to them, conditional upon the GPs completing certain works at the Property.