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Social housing in Yorkshire And The Humber

Bevan Brittan LLP

Bevan Brittan LLP handles the full range of housing-related matters, including financing work, land acquisitions and disposals, planning mandates, disputes and housing management issues. The team's partners have distinct areas of expertise, with Leeds-based practice head Richard Stirk leading on security issues, property developments and sales, primarily acting for housing associations both regionally and nationally. Julie Cowan-Clark works on asset management and leasing matters, notably advising local authorities on Help to Buy issues; Hugo Stephens handles financing work, and John Cox focuses on contentious and non-contentious housing management matters.

Practice head(s):

Richard Stirk


I have found the whole team very responsive, approachable and knowledgeable. There is no such thing as a silly question as far as Bevan Brittan are concerned and they are very patient while I try explain the issue I have concerns about and equally patient while I try to understand the answer!

All individuals I have dealt with have been welcoming, friendly and patient. No one ‘talks down to you’ as some firms do, and, you are made to feel that any question is worth their time and interest, even if ultimately it doesn’t earn any money for the firm.’

I have dealt with John Cox, whom I feel comfortable to ring at any time. If he is busy he will always ring me back asap. Also, Liz Fletcher, Angela Lovett and Charlotte Scourfield – all equally approachable and knowledgeable….they all have a sense of humour which is great!

The teams work well together. Good communication and things acted on quickly when one team asks another to progress an issue. Transparent billing. Very pleased with all our dealings with this company.’

Specific stand-out partner is most definitely John Cox. Very approachable. Explains things clearly. Thinks outside the box but within the law. Very quick communication. Makes himself available outside normal office hours if needed. Regular updates on cases received so we know exactly where we are up to. Gets the job done with no nonsense. If I have a difficult or complex case, John is ALWAYS my first point of call. Have made recommendations to other colleagues to use him due to my great experience. His solicitor Kara Davies is also super efficient on all enquiries she is tasked with by John. Very pleased and will continue to recommend him to colleagues.’


Key clients

Karbon Homes

Together Housing Association

Yorkshire Housing

Your Housing Group

Catalyst Housing Group

Unity Housing Association

Acis Group

Derwent Housing Association

Home Group

Places for People Housing Group

Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association

St Annes Community Services

Leeds Federated Housing Association

The Richmond Fellowship

Broadacres Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advised Together Housing Association on the completion of four International Securities and Derivatives Association (ISDA) agreements.
  • Advising Connect Housing Association on the acquisition of section 106 units on a development site in West Yorkshire and subsequently assisting with the acquisition of open market residential dwellings using grant procured from Homes England and dealing with the immediate back to back sale of the units to individual shared ownership purchasers.
  • Advised Yorkshire Housing on the acquisition of a large development site in Sherburn-in-Elmet for a new development comprising a mixed tenure scheme.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP advises on large-scale and complex housebuilding and renewal schemes, alongside financing deals, regulatory and governance issues, and an increasing number of PRS developments. The team primarily acts for local authorities, as well as government departments on an advisory basis, and national housing associations. Practice head Anne Bowden is highly regarded for her innovative work on local authority housing schemes in London, while director Nick McDonald specialises in planning matters and CPOs for council-led regeneration projects. Stephen Glass works in the regional residential sector, advising housebuilders and developers.

Practice head(s):

Anne Bowden

Other key lawyers:

Nick McDonald; Stephen Glass


This team is very easy to work with; responsive, experienced, and ready to come up with solutions to issues rather than looking for problems that would stop development.

The team is very well led by Anne Bowden who brings with her many years of experience. She also manages a very capable team of individuals who work well together covering other aspects of development that are not Anne’s direct area of expertise.

Key clients

Homes England

London Borough of Wandsworth

London Borough of Lambeth

London Borough of Haringey

Places for People Housing Association

Lovell Partnerships

Countryside Properties

Westminster City Council

London Borough of Hackney

London Borough of Brent

Work highlights

  • Advising the London Borough of Wandsworth on a JV to deliver 2200 new homes on Winstanley/York Road estate beside Clapham Junction.
  • Advising Bristol City Council on the procurement of a developer to deliver 1100+ homes on a regeneration site in South Bristol.
  • Advising Westminster City Council on an innovative JV between the Council’s housing investment company and a developer, for 200+ mixed-tenure homes in Westminster.

Walker Morris LLP

Walker Morris LLP provides advice across all stages of housebuilding and social housing projects, including the planning, financing and construction elements, related disputes and property management issues. The team counts a number of national housing associations as clients alongside developers and infrastructure funds, with public funding advice a growing part of the firm's offering. The practice is led by Chris Woodthorpe who acts for housing providers, public sector bodies and developers on transactions and developments, while Karl Anders heads up the housing management and litigation team, advising landlords and associations on a number of regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Chris Woodthorpe; Karl Anders


The team are highly efficient, due to their knowledge, expertise, professionalism and all round can do attitude. All queries are treated with the same respect, irrespective of their complexity. Working with the team is a pleasure, not a hinderance.’

I work closest with Karl Anders, Zoe McLean-Wells and Emma Needler. Whenever I contact any of them I know that I’m going to be received positively and they make me feel as if I am valued. I never have any reason to doubt any advice they provide and am 100% confident in recommendations they provide. The biggest compliment I can pay them all is that if I need help, they are my first go to people.’

Key clients

Homes England

Hyde Housing Association

Anchor Hanover Group

St Leger Homes Doncaster

Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing

Broadacres Housing Association


South Cambridgeshire District Council

Rykneld Homes

First Choice Homes

Work highlights

  • Acted for Homes England on over 35 matters relating to the award of grant funding to local authorities for housing development schemes.
  • Advising Home Group on the design and construction of a development of 26 homes valued at £3m in Cumbria, 48 homes in Cumbria valued at £6.8m and 83 homes valued at £14m in Gateshead.
  • Advised a social housing provider on the purchase of a development site, valued at several million pounds, in London which also included conditions around planning and the carrying out of certain works.

Rollits LLP

Led by Douglas Oliver in its York office, Rollits LLP focuses on work in East and North Yorkshire, including construction, development, and planning matters for housing associations, including shared ownership work, landlord and tenant issues, and site acquisitions. The team also acts for local charities on lease transfer and property management issues. David Myers is now with Squire Patton Boggs.

Practice head(s):

Douglas Oliver


Approachable and friendly, happy to explain things simply for us.’

All team members are very good and very thorough in their work.’

Key clients

Yorkshire Housing

Pickering & Ferens Homes

Hull Churches Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advising a Hull-based charity on the transfer of properties within a group from a non-RP member to main RP member of the group and the subsequent addition to the mortgage facility.
  • Advising a Hull-based RP on the purchase of stock pursuant to s106 obligations.
  • Advising a Hull-based charity on the creation of city centre affordable housing in place of offices.

Schofield Sweeney

Andrew Hurst heads up the practice at Schofield Sweeney, which primarily acts for social housing landlords and funders. The team works closely with the firm's wider real estate practice on a number of matters including sales, development projects, financing issues, mergers, and housing management work. The group has also handled the development of a new procedure to acquire private housing for Home Office clients.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Hurst

Key clients

Quality Social Housing (QSH)

Horton Housing Association (HHA)

Work highlights

  • Acting for QSH Property on the sale of over 30 social housing units in West Yorkshire and the South.
  • Advised Horton Housing Association on various property acquisitions during 2019.

Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway is active in all areas of the social housing sphere across the North of England, handling planning and development work, financing issues, housing management mandates and litigation for local authorities and housing associations. Leeds-based John Murray takes the lead on housing management matters, particularly contentious issues including dilapidation and repair claims, landlord and tenant issues, and leasing disputes. Simon Thirtle made partner in 2019 and is recommended for his specialist litigation advice to registered housing providers.

Practice head(s):

John Murray

Other key lawyers:

Simon Thirtle

Work highlights

  • Advised Bernicia Group on draft development framework documents.
  • Advised Newcastle Council on the transfer of all parks and allotments in Newcastle City to a newly formed trust.
  • Advised a social housing provider on a large-scale land development.