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  1. Commercial property: The West Country
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With expertise in the residential, renewable energy and healthcare sectors, Ashfords LLP¬†is ‚Äėthe team clients go to when they need major development work done‚Äô. Brian Hegarty¬†advised Willow Green Developments on the acquisition of a 49-acre mixed-use development site, and continues to assist the client with a long-term development strategy, including funding and site disposals. Andrew Rothwell¬†and Tim Heal¬†are also recommended contacts in the development practice. In the energy space, Hegarty advised Hooton Bio Power on the property aspects of a brownfield waste-to-energy project. Andrew MacMillan-Scott, who specialises in investment property, advised Torbay Council on its ¬£29.6m acquisition of a newly constructed logistics building. James Heath¬†handles strategic residential site acquisitions for various companies in the Burrington Estates Group, and also has experience in secured lending transactions. Additional clients include David Wilson Homes and MJL Cornwall.

Davitt Jones Bould¬†runs ‚Äėan efficient and well-organised team‚Äô, which has ‚Äėserious expertise in public sector property work‚Äô. Of particular note, Stuart Bould¬†advised the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the property aspects of the ¬£15m transfer of the Wave Hub to Cornwall Council. Robin de Wreede¬†is acting for Exeter Science Park in relation to a new science park development; he also assists the client with sales and high-value leasing transactions. The team, which includes Maeve Bonner¬†and Elizabeth Palmer, provides comprehensive property advice to Highways England (Exeter), and also handles leasing, investment and development mandates for local authorities across the South West, including Bath and North East Somerset Council, Swindon Borough Council and Dorset County Council. Senior partner Madeleine Davitt¬†oversees a team that serves as sole property lawyers for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Firm co-founder Tim Sylvester-Jones¬†is another key figure.

Foot Anstey’s West Country property team has particular expertise in major residential and mixed-use development projects and nationwide portfolio management. Duncan Tringham is advising London Borough of Tower Hamlets on two major developments: the £250m Ailsa Wharf mixed-use regeneration and the £300m Blackwall Reach redevelopment. Similarly, Tringham is assisting Cornwall Council with the property aspects of a landmark £400m development scheme, which will bring 2,500 new homes and a significant commercial space, including a new football/rugby stadium. Richard Walford assists Screwfix with its property portfolio management, which recently included the opening of its 500th store; he also advises FirstGroup on the ongoing management of its GWR portfolio. Walford is also acting for the two main landowners in connection with a garden village project in Culm, Devon. In the investment space, senior associate John Catchpole advised TClarke on a newbuild 26,000 sq ft prefabrication facility in Essex.

The ‚Äėmarket-leading‚Äô team at Michelmores LLP¬†provides ‚Äėproactive and commercial service‚Äô in development land acquisitions and real estate investment transactions. ‚ÄėAn exceptional property lawyer‚Äô, David Howe¬†acted for Retirement Rentals, as joint venture partner in The Retirement Housing Partnership, in relation to the ¬£100m sale of its partner‚Äôs limited interest in the partnership to Traderisks REIT. Having acted on the land acquisition for Skypark Development Partnership‚Äôs 5,779 sq ft¬†office building development in Devon, Joanna Damerell¬†recently assisted the partnership with leasing transaction for the completed building. Further, Emma Honey¬†assisted Barratt Homes with the site acquisition for a substantial residential development, and Lucy Smallwood¬†advised Persimmon Homes on the concurrent acquisitions of two linked residential development sites in Essex. Other key contacts include Stephen Newson, who assisted Oxygen House (Grenadier Paternoster) with a strategic property transaction, and Richard Honey, who handles public sector property transactions nationwide.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has a wide-ranging property practice, which covers institutional investment, public sector development, and secured lending and property finance. Department head Craig Moore advised English Cities Fund on the £30m acquisition of a major residential development site in Plymouth. Moore also led a team including associate Lucie Hadwick that assisted Rittal with the lease acquisition for its new UK headquarters in Canary Wharf. The team also provides comprehensive real estate advice to Flybe Group, and has niche specialism in LPA receivership work. Also recommended are managing associate Paul Bramall, who has advised a clothing retailer on various letting transactions for new stores in London, and legal director Samantha Orluta. Additional clients include Plymouth University, Taylor Wimpey, Teignbridge District Council, and high street lenders such as NatWest, Lloyds Bank and HSBC.

Clarke Willmott LLP¬†provides ‚Äėefficient, competent and commercial advice‚Äô in development land and portfolio investment transactions. The highly regarded Roger Seaton¬†advised Nakuru Holdings on its ¬£8m acquisition of a site intended for mixed-use redevelopment. Seaton and Philip Brown¬†assisted Rebus Holdings with the ¬£9.9m purchase of a high-profile office building in Bracknell. Similarly, Brown advised Ruskin Properties on its ¬£3m purchase of the former sewerage treatment works at Caledonian in Lye. Associate Sarah Manley¬†assisted Horton Manor with its sale of a large commercial site, and also has experience acting for high street banks in secured lending transactions. Tim Walker¬†and senior associate Claire Tofts¬†are also contacts. Additional clients include RGP Holdings, Ashville Group and Sovereign Housing Association.

The real estate team at Stephens Scown LLP focuses on residential and strategic land development and property finance. Simon Harding has experience in residential and commercial development and advised a regional developer on a complex multimillion-pound development lease agreement. Department head Nigel Coveney represented a client in negotiations with two national house builders for a collaboration agreement concerning a large residential development. Simon Trahair-Davies assisted Strongbow Exploration with the property due diligence for the acquisition of the South Crofty Tin Mine project. The department also provides property advice to the firm’s corporate clients in the mining, agriculture, energy and caravan park sectors. Additional contacts include Michael Beadel, Keith Wright and Mike Northcott.

Trowers & Hamlins LLP¬†has a ‚Äėrespected reputation in the South West‚Äô and is ‚Äėa first port of call‚Äô for real estate sales transactions, residential development work and social housing mandates. Christopher Rundle¬†is acting for FWS Carter & Sons in relation to the ongoing development and letting of an expanding business park in Exeter, which currently spans over one million sq ft¬†and has more than 100 separate occupiers. Joseph Acton¬†advised the sellers of an extensive costal site in the South West. Additionally, Georgina Savill-James¬†is advising a housing company on a joint venture partnership for a mixed open-market and affordable housing development. Rachel Carter¬†and Hugh Winterbotham¬†also have considerable experience in residential development. Galliford Try Group, West Midlands Pension Fund and Civitas Social Housing are among the group‚Äôs varied clients.

GA Solicitors has strengths in commercial development and investment work, and has a particularly active secured lending practice. Indeed, Lucy Foster, who heads the secured lending practice, has been instructed by a number of lenders including Finance Solutions, which she advised on the provision of a £1.5m term loan secured over a housing development in Cornwall. Tony Dupreez assisted Beacon Homes with its £4m acquisition of a hotel for a luxury apartment redevelopment project. Department head David Stone acted for ERS Transition in relation to a transfer of 17 property assets across the UK following its purchase of a business contract for emergency services from the NHS.

Kitsons LLP handles a wide range of property mandates including residential development, and sale, purchase and letting transactions in the leisure, renewable energy and healthcare sectors. In the development space, Cameron Caverhill is acting for CG Fry & Son in relation to a multimillion-pound mixed-use residential and commercial development site in Bradford on Avon. Dominic Hollingsworth has been involved in numerous multimillion-pound hotel sale transactions. The team, which includes Patrick Gaskins, also has experience in public sector work and advised Teignbridge District Council on the conditional and commercial lease agreements associate with a negotiated land swap. Moreover, Peter Boyne is advising Libraries Limited South West on its leasing and subleasing agreements for library premises throughout Devon.

At Maitland Walker LLP, Ben Slade handles a range commercial property transactions and estate management mandates for clients in the leisure, residential and high-street gaming sectors. Slade has been involved in numerous London-based residential property disposals, and also advised a well-known European corporate on the acquisition on its UK headquarters in London. The practice head also assisted a client with the acquisition of a student accommodation block in Cardiff. Hilary Coles has experience in conveyancing and planning matters.

OTB Eveling’s real estate group has experience in commercial leasing, and investment and development transactions in the leisure, retail and residential sectors. Department head Keith Biggs has assisted Pearce Fine Homes and Stevens Homes with multiple site acquisitions and disposals. Biggs also advised Oneserve on a lease agreement in relation to its office relocation to the new industrial estate at Exeter Airport. Working in conjunction with the corporate group, the property team has also been involved in a number of hotel sales. Other key figures include senior associate Charlotte Curtis, who handles property disputes, and senior associate Jonathan Day, who joined the team from Chubb Bullied.

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Legal Developments in South West for Commercial property: The West Country

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer ‚Ä©

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.‚Ä©
    - Falcon Chambers

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