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Commercial property: Dorset, Devon and Cornwall in South West

Lester Aldridge LLP

Lester Aldridge LLP specialises in commercial property matters related to affordable housing, telecoms and care homes. The firm also provides experience in property investment, management and development, including real estate finance and recoveries. The practice is co-led by Suki Samra, who is know for his expertise in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, as well as the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993; development specialist Roger Woolley; and Mark Benham, who focuses on house building matters and the retirement living sector. Also notable are residential development expert Lucy Stevens and associate Rebecca Humm, who advises local and regional developers on range of matters, including planning.

Key clients

Excalibur Communications Group

McCarthy & Stone

Breeze Motor Group Plc

Meggitt PLC

Bargate Homes

Bloor Homes


Captiva Homes

Marina Developments Limited

Care South

CHG Holdings Limited

Meyrick Estate


Yorkshire Building Society t/a Norwich & Peterborough


Monzo Bank

Fonthill Care

Capture Housing Limited

Langham Land Limited

Lewis Investments Limited

Fragrance Group


Work highlights

  • Acted for the Bournemouth and District Recreational Charity in the freehold sale of a 65-acre recreational venue to Bournemouth University (a non-exempt charity).
  • Advising McCarthy & Stone on its proposed multimillion-pound purchases of two historic market sites as part of its strategic acquisition programme.
  • Advised Captiva Developments Limited on the the acquisition and site assembly of a development project on the Isle of Wight.

Michelmores LLP

The ‘really excellent' Michelmores LLP is best known for its development and public sector expertise, notably advising on residential and commercial property developments. The firm also provides experience in acquisitions, disposals and strategic land advice, acting for banking clients, schools and higher education institutions, police authorities and the Ministry of Justice. Real estate specialists Emma Honey and Lucy Smallwood co-lead the team, which also includes David Howe, who focuses on transactional work. In 2019 Chloe Howard-Smith was promoted to partner and Stephen McColgan retired from the firm.

Practice head(s):

Emma Honey; Lucy Smallwood

Other key lawyers:

David Howe; Chloe Howard-Smith


‘David Howe provides straightforward, clear advice combined with meticulous attention to detail, conveyed in a courteous and polite but firm manner’

‘Comprehensive team of expert property lawyers experienced in real estate transactions and the sale of development sites in particular’

‘They have good resources as a firm so are able to call on support for tax, VAT, planning, trusts and corporate law matters’

‘Excellent property team lead by Emma Honey and including Lucy Smallwood and Elizabeth Newson’

‘All very responsive and commercial in terms of their advice and ability to progress complex transactions’

‘This practice is unique because they have embraced and adopted our outlook on sustainability. They are genuinely taking the lead on sustainability across their firm’

‘Steve Newson is an extension of our real estate team.  He gets on with deals behind the scenes, coming back for instruction on only the most important points. This creates efficient working for all’

Key clients

Barratt David Wilson

Cavanna Group

Clinton Devon Estates

C G Fry

Cornwall Council and other local authorities

Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime

Persimmon Homes

St Modwen Developments

University of Exeter


Work highlights

  • Acted for Rowe Estates (UK) Limited on the planning, forward sale, funding, tax and construction aspects of the development of a new Costa on the A38 at Hardwicke, Gloucester.
  • Advised Jurassic Fibre on the laying of its fibre network.
  • Acted for Queens Drive Exmouth Community Interest Company in the negotiation of two pre-let agreements of a not-for-profit development of a new seafront watersports centre at Exmouth.

Steele Raymond LLP

Extremely commercially aware sector leaderSteele Raymond LLP has ‘unrivalled knowledge' and is ‘respected by landowners, agents, housebuilders and promoters alike’. The firm has particular expertise in the areas of development, commercial property investment and pension property investment. The ‘highly professional and thoroughChris Twaits leads the team, which includes the ‘always efficient and diligentJennifer Rogerson; Emma Stainwright, who specialises in residential development work, acting for landowners and regional housebuilders; and associate Johanna Hammersley, who focuses on SIPP and SSAS pension property investment. Also notable is Chris Dolan, who joined from Blake Morgan LLP in 2019 and brings experience in residential development.

Practice head(s):

Chris Twaits


‘Certainly one of the leading law firms in the South of England’

‘Emma Stainwright is simply unrivalled on the South Coast in her field and has incredible depth of knowledge’

‘Proactive, thorough and gets deals done’

‘They are the outstanding firm in the area as they work as a team for clients’ benefit’

‘They are pragmatic and hardworking and give commercial advice on the options available to resolve a matter with the best possible outcome for the client’

‘Carol Elliot is both highly professional and efficient’

‘The standout partners at the firm are Emma Stainwright and Chris Dolan, who are always supportive, understanding, professional and commercially minded’

‘They go out of their way to respond in a very quick timeframe and to find the best person to deal with matters.’

‘Chris Dolan is loyal, dedicated and thorough. Great knowledge and expertise in commercial property deals’

Key clients

South Somerset District Council

Hildon Limited

Broadshade Group Ltd

West Wales Airport Limited

World of Water Garden Centres

Charles Trent Limited

Birchmere Limited

Pivotal Homes Group

Bournemouth Churches Housing Association

Harry J Palmer

AJC Developments



Hill Brush Company Limited

Stewarts Garden Centres

Jennings Bet

JGP Lakedale Limited

East Borough Housing Trust Limited

Framptons Café, Bar & Kitchen

Work highlights

  • Acted for South Somerset District Council in the purchase of an office investment at Linden House in Bristol for £2.75 million.
  • Advised AJC Developments (South) Limited on the acquisition and sub-sale of land for a significant social housing development at Okeford Fitzpaine.
  • Acted for Broadshade Group Ltd in the purchase of Axis Beta, a multi-let office building in Bristol.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

The strong development and property investment practice at Trowers & Hamlins LLP advises local authorities, institutional investors, national housebuilders and REITs on regional and national projects. The firm has particular expertise in residential and mixed-use urban regeneration schemes, as well as inward investment and strategic planning. The team is co-led by Georgina Savill-James, who acts on joint ventures, portfolio acquisitions of tenanted properties and development acquisitions; Chris Rundle, who specialises in business lease negotiations and renewals; and Sara Bailey, who focuses on advising local authority and developer clients on property and regeneration projects. Also notable is managing associate Gail White, who has public and private sector experience.

Other key lawyers:

Gail White


‘The team have people who care about the work they are carrying out for you’

‘They always respond to questions or enquiries the same day so you are not left waiting for replies or concerned that matters are not being dealt with’

‘I feel so supported by the individuals I deal with’

‘I know they will stay late to answer queries and they have never failed to meet a deadline that has been set’

‘They don’t look for problems with contracts, they look for solutions when they find problems and give swift advice on how to move forward’

‘A very good local team, great hands on approach and always available’

‘Excellent banking and property advice’

‘Lynn Onyett is really hands on and always available, and takes a very commercial approach in deal making’

Key clients

British Telecommunications plc

Pennon Group (incorporating South West Water & Viridor)

Galliford Try Group (incorporating Linden Homes)

LiveWest Group (incorporating Westco Properties Limited)

London & Devonshire Trust Limited (incorporating Devonshire Homes)

Freshwater Group

Kames Capital

Gloucester City Council

Homes England

Civitas Social Housing PLC

Greendale Group

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Hermes Investment Management

Urban Logistics REIT plc

Arbuthnot Latham

Work highlights

  • Acted for LiveWest (and its commercial subsidiary Westco) on a series of joint venture transactions with Bovis Homes and onward sub-sale contract and development agreements for LiveWest to deliver around 1,000 new homes across the South West.
  • Acted for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham on the acquisition of a long-term investment lease of a new-build hotel in the City of London.
  • Acted for BT on the 20-year lease of nearly 300,000 sq ft of office accommodation at Three Snowhill, Birmingham.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Acting for local and national clients, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has experience in a range of property matters, including real estate finance, landlord and tenant issues, acquisitions and disposals, public sector development and secured lending. The firm has particular expertise in portfolio management, LPA receivership and corporate occupier matters, as well as advising clients in the public sector. Practice head Craig Moore specialises in acting for lenders, notably high-street, secondary and foreign banks and peer-to-peer lenders. Also recommended is legal director Samantha Orluta, who focuses on residential housing development.

Practice head(s):

Craig Moore

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Orluta


‘Samantha Orluta is a diligent and practical lawyer who takes a pragmatic approach to dealing with the various complexities that arise in residential development. She is always available on the other end of the phone and that has been a great help to me’

‘The availability and pragmatism are two standout skills which I greatly value’

‘Excellent understanding of our needs as a client and supportive in identifying options and risks’

‘Craig Moore is particularly proactive and supportive which engenders confidence’

Key clients

Bristol & Bath Regional Capital

Renewable Energy Systems Limited

Post Office Limited


Ashfield Land Limited

Clarks Shoes

Scottish Power

West Devon District Council

University of Plymouth



Accor UK

Ministry of Justice

REG Windpower Limited

The Board of the Pension Protection Fund

Eagle One

Work highlights

  • Advised the University of Plymouth in respect of the exercise of a contractual right to renew a lease of premises at Peninsula Allied Health Centre, Plymouth Science Park. The team were involved in negotiating the reversionary lease and also advised on a lease of additional teaching space within the Peninsula Allied Health Centre. The combined rent over the term is circa £1.36m
  • Advising ECF – Quadrant Wharf Millbay Plymouth on a site acquisition, dealing with the site set up and onward plot sales, and advising on the sale of the ground rents.
  • Acting for James Walker Group in respect of all of its real estate work, including leases of office accommodation at its headquarters in Woking.

Ashfords LLP

Ashfords LLP provides a 'comprehensive team of expert property lawyers experienced in real estate transactions and the sale of development sites'. The firm has broad commercial property expertise that includes development, housing, investment, secured lending and healthcare matters. The practice has particular specialisms in franchising matters, and in the energy and waste sectors. Tim Heal leads the team and specialises in all aspects of the development of residential and commercial property, notably strategic site assembly.

Practice head(s):

Tim Heal


‘The work undertaken by Ashfords is incredibly complex, involving a variety of teams including real estate, construction and tax’

‘Simon Bailey coordinates all the work we do, which is often subject to very tight deadlines, multi-disciplinary and very complex’

‘Ashfords have a strong property team that works well with the banking team’

‘Hannah McGown provides exceptionally detailed property advice, especially relating to the certificate of title’

‘Delivers an exceptional service with outstanding detail’

‘They have good resources as a firm so are able to call on support for tax, VAT, planning, trusts and corporate law matters’

‘Excellent property team lead by Tim Heal and including Andrew Rothwell, Chris Gregson, Annika Gleeson. All very responsive and commercial in terms of their advice and ability to progress complex transactions’

‘Professional and extremely capable in commercial work’

‘Ability to make a real contribution to any deal through the legal process’

‘Ensure that any deal entered into takes account of all aspects to avoid as much as possible issues that might affect the success of the transaction’

Key clients

Wainhomes (South West) Holdings Limited

Persimmon Homes Limited

BDW Trading Limited

Cavanna Homes

Burrington Estates

Strongvox Limited

Homes England

Torbay Council

Biffa Waste Services Limited


Work highlights

  • Advising Mendip District Council on the development of a ten-acre area of derelict land in Frome.
  • Acted for BDW Trading Limited in a significant acquisition to deliver approximately 200 dwellings via a consortium with another housebuilder.
  • Represented Bovis Homes Limited in a key acquisition to provide in excess of 200 dwellings on land which had the benefit of outline planning permission.

Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey has experience in a range of commercial property work, acting for landowners, developers, corporate occupiers and infrastructure companies. The practice specialises in dealing with complex development and infrastructure projects. Martin Hirst’s expertise includes residential development, conditional contracts and joint ventures. He co-leads the team with Richard Sutton, who is known for advising on property development, as well as acting for the owners and operators of hotels and leisure properties. Legal director Zahir Nayani joined in 2019 from a position in-house at Rosette Merchant Bank and has a particular focus on inward investment into UK real estate.

Practice head(s):

Martin Hirst; Richard Sutton

Other key lawyers:

Zahir Nayani


Foot Anstey understand their clients needs in practical terms as well as legal terms, and work with them to agree workable solutions rather than just posing problems.’

David Williams – David really understands the complexity of our business and also the uniqueness of our company. He has made it his responsibility to really understand us and our ethos.’

Pragmatic, commercial advice.’

Stuart Cleak is pragmatic and commercial – seeking solutions in a collaborative manner.’


Key clients


Princess Yachts

Berkeley Homes

Weston College

Cornwall Council


First Group PLC

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Mole Valley Farmers

Plymouth Argyle Football Club

Work highlights

  • Advising the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on a major regeneration scheme which will involve the creation of a new community.
  • Advising Cornwall Council on a joint venture with Inox Developments, the Cornish Pirates, Truro City Football Club and many other parties to deliver a new 16,000-seat stadium.
  • Advised Family Action on the acquisition of a newly refurbished, 9,000 sq ft national head office near Islington.

Laceys Solicitors LLP

Acting for property developers and investors, Laceys Solicitors LLP has experience in the hotel, care home and student accommodation sectors. The firm also advises commercial and investor clients on the acquisition, sale and letting of business or industrial premises, as well as construction contracts, planning, licensing, and landlord and tenant matters. Practice head John Munro specialises in acting for investors, property developers and providers of student accommodation.

Practice head(s):

John Munro


‘The practice treats myself and my businesses with a very personal, but professional approach, rather than being another number in the system’

‘Claire Taylor went out of her way to ensure that no stone was left unturned. Whenever she had a concern or a matter that needed addressing, she called me immediately to discuss, rather than waiting for email responses’

Key clients

Allied Developments Limited

Affinity Care Group Limited

Bracken Developments Limited

Britannia Parking Group Limited

Buckinghamshire Group Limited

Clark & Brassington Partnership

Direct Insurance Group PLC

Extreme Assets Limited

Extreme Exhibitions Limited

Goadsby Limited

Handelsbanken plc

Harlequin Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Inutec Limited on its acquisition of the freehold of property on the nuclear site at Winfrith in Dorset.

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

Specialising in residential and commercial redevelopment, Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP also advises on property acquisitions and management. The firm has experience that ranges from corporate support to secured lending. The team is co-led by Timothy Sharpley, who is an expert in restrictive covenants, and Matthew Clake, who focuses on commercial property transactions.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Sharpley; Matthew Clake

Frettens LLP

Frettens LLP advises on landlord and tenant matters, particularly large-scale leases. The practice has experience in the sale and purchase of businesses, including hotels, restaurants and retail units, as well as expertise in lease extensions. In addition, the firm acts for insolvency practitioners, administrators and liquidators on the sale of properties. Oonagh McKinney handles property transactions for commercial clients. She co-leads the team with associate Ben Cobb, who specialises in property acquisitions for registered social landlords.

Practice head(s):

Oonagh McKinney; Ben Cobb

Other key lawyers:

Clare Hallett

Key clients

Pivotal Housing Association

Primetower Properties Limited

AFC Bournemouth

28A Supported Living Limited

Aspire Property Holdings (Castle) Limited

Raymond Brown Will Trust

Taylor Grey Homes Limited

Vivera Property Ventures Limited

Royston Group Limited

MC Plan

GA Solicitors

GA Solicitors provides broad expertise in commercial property, specialising in the purchase and management of industrial estates and other multi-let sites. The firm has been particularly active in the healthcare sector, as well as increasing its experience in energy law. David Stone leads the team and focuses on landlord and tenant work. Also notable is Helen Rumford, who joined from Renew Legal in 2019 and brings expertise in energy development and asset management.

Practice head(s):

David Stone

Other key lawyers:

Helen Rumford

Key clients

Gerrick Rose Animal Trust

Peninsula Finance plc

The Cary Estate

Harrier LLC

Arbuthnot Commercial Banking

National Westminster Bank plc

Newton Abbot Races Limited

Michael Spiers (Jewellers) Limited

Barclays Bank plc

ERS Transition Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for the sellers of an industrial premises subject to an existing occupational lease and dealing with special provisions governing the sellers’ ability to recover rent arrears post completion not paid by the buyer.
  • Advising Harrier LLC on the group structuring of properties, including the transfer of York Laboratories and Dakota House to the group’s property holding company.
  • Acting for Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club on the sale of the its clubhouse premises and food and events business at Madeira Road, Plymouth, with short-term leaseback of office premises.

Stephens Scown LLP

Stephens Scown LLP provides expertise in strategic land development and the mining, agriculture and renewable energy sectors. The firm has experience acting for specialist rural housing associations, as well as a niche in holiday and residential park matters. The team is co-led by Nigel Coveney, who specialises in strategic land development and funding; Keith Wright, who focuses on landlord and tenant matters for commercial clients; and Tim Atkins, who has broad property experience, including in the housing, charities and agriculture sectors.


We use the whole team in the Truro office, who’re a great team, with broad experience and expertise.’

Michael Beadel and Ben Wheeler for their outstanding service and commitment; pulling out all the stops when I need to get a deal over the line and stopping at nothing to help me make it happen. Truly committed to their jobs and their clients, and, together – the A Team!


Key clients

Strategic Land Partnerships LLP

Waddeton Park Ltd

Hydro Mills Group Limited

St Austell Brewery Co Ltd

Strongbow Exploration Inc

Live West Homes Limited (formerly Devon and Cornwall Housing)

Cavanna Homes (Devon) Ltd

Wombwell Homes (Lostwithiel) Limited

Venture Property Development Company Ltd

Hastoe Housing Association Limited

Imerys Minerals Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Coastline Housing Limited on its partnership with Legal and General Homes for the delivery of 600 additional homes in Cornwall per year.
  • Acted for LiveWest Homes Limited in the purchase of a property which was being re-developed to provide a library building and residential accommodation.

Trethowans LLP

Specialising in commercial property transactions, Trethowans LLP has experience in property pension and property finance matters. The firm is active in the residential development sector, as well as advising on matters ranging from landlord and tenant issues to restructuring and insolvency. Pension property expert Garry Treagust co-leads the practice with Paul Longman, who focuses on property finance and development. Guy Morgan joined from Lester Aldridge LLP in 2019 and has particular expertise in healthcare properties. Caroline Probert left for Steele Raymond LLP in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Garry Treagust; Paul Longman

Other key lawyers:

Guy Morgan

Key clients

Lloyds Bank Plc

Santander UK Plc

HSBC Bank Plc

James Hay Pension Trustees Limited

Vivid Housing Association

Rowanmoor Trustees Limited

James Hay Pension Trustees Limited

Ladbrokes Coral Limited

Stannah Lifts Holdings Limited

Legal & General Assurance Society Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Land Options Limited on option agreements with multiple land owners to acquire land forming a development.
  • Advising Bournhomes Limited on the purchase of a portfolio of freehold property from an institutional owner and agreeing the terms of anti-embarrassment clauses and overage.