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Commercial property: Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire in South West

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The 'very user-friendly' Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has particular expertise in strategic land, supported living and high-net-worth property investment matters, as well as residential investment and development. Ian Brothwood leads the team and specialises in residential schemes, acting for landowners. Also notable are Nigel Morton, who focuses on mixed-use developments; Naomi Nettleton, who is known for real estate investment with an emphasis on specialist supported living work; and senior associate Julie Sharpe, who advises landowners and developers on all aspects of commercial and residential strategic land development.

Practice head(s):

Ian Brothwood

Testimonials

‘This practice has amazing depth of experience and can access specialist knowledge at any time’

‘They take great care to understand your business and to add a very positive input into its daily running and any long-term goals’

‘They keep you up to date with new legislation and have many discussion groups geared to your interests’

‘Compared to other practices we have come across they are so much less aggressive, and instead are calm and considered’

‘They are interested in and understand what we are trying to do and achieve’

‘Nigel Morton has always given considered and excellent advice’

‘Nigel Morton and Jonathan Morley were instrumental’

Key clients

Crab Hill Developments Limited

Topland Henley Healthcare Investments Limited

Aspirations Care Limited/New Start Supported Housing

Hearthstone Residential Fund 1 LP

Eversleigh Investment and Property Company

Metro Bank Plc

The British Computer Society

Manhattan Loft Gardens Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Crab Hill Developments on the disposal of the next phase of the Kingsgrove development in Wantage to Bellway Homes.
  • Advised Topland Henley Healthcare Investments Limited on the sale of a portfolio of 40 freehold properties in the Cambridge area subject to guardian licences and assured shorthold tenancies.
  • Advised Hearthstone Residential Fund 1LP on the acquisition of around 300 homes from five national housebuilders.

Davitt Jones Bould

The 'fantastic and highly flexible' real estate specialists at Davitt Jones Bould focus on large projects nationwide, with particular expertise in public sector work. The firm's experience includes complex lease negotiations, development projects and regeneration work for councils across the country. Madeleine Davitt leads the practice and is known for the management of large central government commercial property projects. Notable in the Taunton team are commercial property experts Tim Sylvester-Jones, Maeve Bonner, Stuart Bould, Sean Bulman and Michael Wear.

Practice head(s):

Madeleine Davitt

Testimonials

‘I rate the firm and the individual solicitors I have dealt with very highly, as they have a wide range of extremely experienced and knowledgeable lawyers working for them, as well as very well-organised and helpful administrative support’

‘In my opinion, their particular focus on work for the public sector gives them an edge over many other firms given the various issues which are particular to public sector clients’

‘Madeleine Davitt has good relationships with the clients and deals very effectively with any client issues which arise’

‘Robin de Wreede was always up to speed with what was going on over all areas of the project. He also worked hard at maintaining the ongoing relationship with the clients’

‘Sean Bulman was very good at identifying the key points of complex legal issues which arose, explaining them clearly for the clients and working towards finding a solution’

‘DJB are unique in their structure. The are led by the wonderful Madeleine Davitt and made up of a network of lawyers across the country’ 

‘Extra attention to detail is given to the set up, administration and coordination of each and every case’

‘Kate Evans is a very efficient and effective lawyer. Her direct approach enables a swift understanding of each case and she is always prompt and extremely reliable’

Key clients

Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurants

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Exeter Science Park

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Devon County Council

Bristol Water

Minerva Smart Cities

Wiltshire Council

Natural England

Bristol City Council

Integral UK Plc

Work highlights

  • Advised Woking Borough Council on the £700m regeneration of Sheerwater.
  • Advised Exeter Science Park, a joint venture between Devon County Council, the University of Exeter, Exeter City Council and East Devon District Council, on the £8 million, 64-acre development of the park.
  • Advised the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on all of the property issues to arise out of its £3billion estate.

BPE Solicitors LLP

BPE Solicitors LLP provides construction, corporate and litigation expertise to support its commercial property practice. The firm has broad experience in property matters, including in the logistics, healthcare, retail and social housing sectors, as well as advising on real estate finance and investment. Jo Bewley leads the team and has a particular strength in the healthcare sector. Also notable is Rebecca Maxwell, who specialises in acting for logistics companies.

Practice head(s):

Jo Bewley

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Maxwell

Key clients

Boultbee Brooks Limited

Head Ruddy

Manchester 2 LLP

Eddie Stobart Limited

Mears Limited

Stobart Group

Warners Retail (South West) Ltd

Superdry plc

Lloyds Bank plc

Plexus (First Project) Limited

Lilian Faithfull Care

Mears New Homes Limited

Pure Gym Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Mears Limited on a government contract relating to the provision of asylum accommodation.
  • Acted for Eddie Stobart Logistics on the completion of its lease of a new unit in Midlands Logistics Park, Corby.
  • Advising Plexus UK (First Project) Limited on the lease of a new-build property for use as a mixture of social housing and extra care housing.

Clarke Willmott LLP

'At home on real estate transactions', Clarke Willmott LLP has ‘very pragmatic and commercially savvy property lawyers, providing an outstanding service at all levels'. The firm specialises in housebuilding, commercial development and investment matters, acting for high-net-worth individuals and businesses nationwide. Nick Francombe focuses on freehold and leasehold property disposals and acquisitions. He co-leads the team with development expert Tim Walker. Also notable are Philip Brown, who is known for residential and commercial development work, and Ewen Cairns, who joined from Brodies LLP in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Nick Francombe; Tim Walker

Testimonials

‘Roger Seaton runs a full-service real estate team’

‘The team is across the board very skilled’

‘Roger Seaton is an excellent all-round real estate lawyer, and leads the team from the front’

‘Claire Tofts is an up-and-coming star’

‘We think extremely highly of Clarke Willmott and use them for almost all our transactional work where possible’

‘They can work through complexities but where possible try to keep things straightforward and progressing’

‘Philip Brown is a fantastic lawyer and has a very good understanding of the practicalities of development and how contracts apply in practice’

‘Tim Walker is superb at large complex consortium transactions and has an amazing ability to deal with people at all levels of understanding, always finding a way to progress a transaction’

Key clients

Summerfield Developments (SW) Limited

Scotsgrove Holdings Limited

Persimmon Homes Limited

Countryside (UK) Limited

Strongvox Limited

AE Securities Limited

Summerfield SD3 Limited

Bathurst Limited

Precis Group

Metis Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Trinco Properties Limited on the purchase of several properties in London and the immediate lease back to the seller, the Terrence Higgins Trust, for £16.1m.
  • Acted for Scotsgrove Holdings Limited on the acquisition of a multi-let office building in the centre of Bristol, for £9m and the disposal for the same client of a central Bath office building for £8.8m.
  • Acted for Summerfield Developments (SW) Limited in relation to a variety of projects at Westpark 26 business park, including the development and disposal of a distribution facility to Bath Quartermaster Limited.

Willans LLP

The 'great breadth of expertise’ at Willans LLP includes development and charity sector work, as well as providing renewable energy and property finance teams. The firm also has experience in landlord and tenant matters, particularly the sales and acquisitions of retail and office portfolios. Nigel Whittaker leads the team and acts on a range of commercial freehold and leasehold matters. Susie Wynne left the firm for an in-house position

Practice head(s):

Nigel Whittaker

Testimonials

‘They have been able to handle all of our commercial property requirements’

‘Alasdair Garbutt and Emma Thompson continually show understanding of us as a client and our requirements’

‘Competence in completing the assigned tasks, and good communication skills’

‘Willans LLP have always gone above and beyond for my business’

‘They communicate clearly and efficiently’

‘Everything is always completed in a timely manner and within the initial budget provided’

‘We trust the advice given by Willans implicitly and know we are in safe hands’

‘Nigel Whittaker is professional, knowledgeable, trustworthy, efficient – the list is endless’

Key clients

Sue Ryder

Newberry International Produce Limited

Trinity Hospice Shops Limited

Crown House Developments/Lansdowne Rodway Limited

Princess Alice Hospice

Shelter

Macmillan Cancer Support

Scope

Joden (Builders) Limited

New College Swindon

Weird Fish

Victim Support

Joedan Manufacturing UK Ltd

Western Computer Group Limited

Moonflight Limited

Sanderson Solutions Group plc

Felt So Good

Cobalt Health

Work highlights

  • Advising Sue Ryder on the acquisition of land for the construction of a new multimillion-pound care facility, as well as providing continued advice on its entire property portfolio across England and Wales in relation to leases and disposal of care homes no longer fit for purpose.
  • Acting for Newberry International Produce Limited on the purchase of land and buildings for redevelopment.
  • Acting for Shelter on lease acquisitions and renewals for its entire property portfolio across England and Wales.

Wilsons

Wilsons covers a range of commercial property matters, including commercial leases, renewable energy schemes, residential lettings and trust transactions. The firm provides specialist landowner development and planning advice, as well as experience in charity-related work. The team is co-led by Jane Lonergan, who focuses on charity property issues; Alison Bailey, who has expertise in rural property matters; and Tim Clayden, who advises on transactions involving country and London properties.

Other key lawyers:

Dominic Ogden; Robert Swift

Testimonials

‘Wilsons has a very strong customer focus, with a flexible attitude to meeting needs and ensuring understanding of the requirements’

‘Personal attention is always excellent’

‘Advice given is sound and enduring, and stands up to scrutiny’

‘Personal attention and a sense that they are really on our side. They generate our confidence in their ability’

Key clients

The Royal Marines Association – The Royal Marines Charity

ASCB Charitable Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised the Royal Marines Association – The Royal Marines Charity on the structure of the arrangement to build a Families Centre.
  • Advised the ASCB Charitable Fund on its lease of the Aldershot Tennis Centre and sub-let of the centre to a professional tennis provider.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Harrison Clark Rickerbys is known for advising on real estate finance and education sector property matters. The team is co-led by Mark Carter, who focuses on secured lending and public sector work, and residential property specialist Zoe Touhey. Also notable is Ben Thomas, who joined from Knights plc in 2019 and brings landlord, tenant and asset management expertise, particularly in the retail sector.

Practice head(s):

Mark Carter; Zoe Touhey

Other key lawyers:

Ben Thomas

Key clients

Bruton Knowles Property Consultants

Lloyds Bank Plc

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire

Countrywide Estate Agents

HSBC Bank Plc

Santander UK Plc

Cheltenham YMCA

Farncombe Estates Limited

Gloucestershire College

Cheltine Limited

Synlatex Limited

Wildmoor Property Group

Imperial Hearing Limited

Hatchbury Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Wildmoor Property Group on the refinance of a substantial property portfolio located in Cirencester, comprising retail, office and residential space and a hotel trading business.
  • Acted for Countrywide on a rent review and reversionary lease of its principal estate agencies in Cheltenham.
  • Acted for Imperial Hearing Limited on the purchase of the freehold of its headquarters building in Cheltenham.

Lodders Solicitors LLP

Lodders Solicitors LLP provides a full service for residential and commercial developers, investors and owner-occupiers. The firm’s experience ranges from portfolio management to real estate finance, commercial leases, acquisitions and property tax. Mark Miller Partner leads the team, which also includes Paul Mourton, who handles investment property transactions and large-scale property developments for residential and commercial clients.

Practice head(s):

Mark Miller

Other key lawyers:

Paul Mourton

Work highlights

  • Acted for Craigard Prospect (SBP) Limited & Craigard Prospect (SBP) Nominees Limited, as the buyer, in the purchase of five office buildings on an estate in Fareham.
  • Acted for Hinton Properties, as the developer, in the assembly of land for a major new retail and office scheme in Cheltenham and the forward funding of the retail element of the business park.
  • Acted for WW Truck & Bus Ltd in the purchase of a plot off Severn Road, Bristol.

Maitland Walker LLP

Maitland Walker LLP provides expertise in acquisitions, disposals, estate management work and agricultural property transactions. The firm has a particular specialism in advising adult gaming centres. Ben Slade has broad commercial property experience, notably in transactions involving the leisure and licensing industry. He co-leads the team with Hilary Coles, who advises on commercial and residential conveyancing transactions, with an emphasis on rural and agricultural property matters.

Practice head(s):

Ben Slade; Hilary Coles

Porter Dodson LLP

Acting for landowners, SMEs and national clients, Porter Dodson LLP is particularly well known for its landlord and tenant work. The 'responsive and proactive' firm has expertise in representing GP partnerships across Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Devon, as well as local house builders and developers in a range of matters. In addition, the practice is increasingly active advising lenders on independent reports on title. Ben Hingley leads the team and specialises in the site disposal of development land.

Practice head(s):

Ben Hingley

Other key lawyers:

Louise Sanders; Bruce Weir

Testimonials

‘Advice is very practical and the team are very commercial in their approach’

‘Louise Sanders gives invaluable and practical advice. She will think outside the box to find workable solutions’

‘The team covers all legal areas to a very high professional standard but particularly the property transaction area’

‘They are really exceptional at understanding our particular segment of the market and working at an incredible pace with strict deadlines’

‘Louise Sanders and Victoria Walker are totally committed to our business and have years of experience at working at our pace with  lots of complexity’

‘The service you receive from Porter Dodson is always highly professional and delivered in a diligent and personable way.’

‘Bruce Weir is a highly experienced property lawyer, capable of dealing with all contractual complexities relating to property transactions’

Key clients

Toolstation Limited

Lloyds Bank Plc

Wyvern Health Partnership

North Petherton Surgery

Hair OTT Limited

A J Wakely & Sons

Work highlights

  • Acted for Lloyds Bank PLC in respect of a group re-organisation with security valued in excess of £13 million.
  • Acting for Mowat in the negotiation of multiple option agreements with a residential developer to include uplift agreements based upon the acreage developed.
  • Acting for Wyvern Health Partnership in the merger of six GP practices in Wiltshire to ensure the transfer of both freehold and leasehold properties and the respective businesses.

Stone King LLP

Known for its expertise in the charity sector, the Stone King LLP team is led by Caroline Taylor, who has a particular focus on retail leases with turnover rents, pre-lets, commercial and mixed-use leasing and development projects. Also notable is Hugh Pearce, who specialises in matters related to the charity and education sectors.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Hugh Pearce

Key clients

Downside Abbey General Trust

FirstLight Trust

Clevedon Learning Trust

Bernardine Sisters

English Mission of the Sisters of St Louis CIO

Hanley Castle High School

Charterhouse

Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Area Quaker Meeting

Leigh Academies Trust

Work highlights

  • Acted for Downside Abbey General Trust in the transfer of the school undertaking from the client to Downside School, involving the transfer of the school business and properties to a new charitable company.
  • Acting for veterans support charity FirstLight Trust on its plans to open up a network of 30 hubs across the country.
  • Acting for Clevedon in relation to its portfolio of 12 schools, including dealing with a complicated academy conversion.

Thrings LLP

Thrings LLP provides specialist secured lending and residential development teams. The firm also has expertise in investment, advising on the acquisition and disposal of high-value freehold and leasehold properties. The team is co-led by Warren Reid, who focuses on commercial property and property litigation; Ben Jones, who advises on acquisitions, disposals, development schemes, and landlord and tenant transactions; and property litigation expert Gemma Featonby.

Key clients

Renrod

Newland Homes

Curo Enterprises Limited

AirTanker

Property Partner

Baylis Estates Limited

Blue Cedar Homes

ForgeRock Limited

Create Real Estate

Burrington Estates

National Westminster Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted for NatWest in the purchase of a hotel financed by refinancing an existing hotel in the borrower’s ownership.

Wansbroughs

Acting for corporations, developers and landed estates, Wansbroughs is particularly well known for providing technical advice on development matters and its strength in the healthcare and renewables sectors. The firm's experience covers letting, sale and acquisition matters. Neil Patterson leads the team and specialises in complex land development projects.

Practice head(s):

Neil Patterson

Testimonials

‘Traditional firm with a variety of services’

‘Excel in their profession, hardworking and take a personal approach to each client’

‘Wansbroughs have provided an excellent service’

‘Wansbroughs have a friendly, polite professional team’

‘Christopher Ware has been brilliant. We can always trust him to act quickly and we like the fact that he is always one step ahead’

‘A very personalised service is given with the member of staff who is instructed actually dealing with a case rather than delegating it’

‘Richard Jeffcoate, Laura Ingram-Hill and Jonathan Bruton are all particularly good to work with’