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Burges Salmon LLP

Living Wage
Work 0117 939 2000
Fax 0117 902 4400
Bristol, London

Philip Beer

Work 0117 307 6904
Burges Salmon LLP

Work Department

Real estate.


Philip specialises in real estate development and regeneration, the real estate aspects of major projects and infrastructure deals and real estate investment (particularly by overseas investors into the UK). Clients and recent work includes advising the GLA on the £1bn development of the Royal Albert Dock by a Chinese developer, ABP, to create 'London's Third Business District' after The City and Canary Wharf; advising London Underground on the extension of the Metropolitan Line from Croxley Green to Watford Junction; advising Hong Kong investors on real estate investment projects in the UK; advising FirstGroup and GoVia on the development of two large new rail depots as part of the £12bn Thameslink Rolling Stock Procurement programme; advising a major energy company on property issues relating to its thermal fleet; advising The Crown Estate on strategic development land projects; advising Rail for London (London Overground) on the acquisition and development of new depot facilities for the London Overground Capacity Improvement Programme.


Trained Taylor Joynson Garrett, London; qualified 1998; joined Herbert Smith 2002; partner Simmons & Simmons 2008; partner Burges Salmon 2011.


Law Society.


Attended Brentwood School, Essex; Bristol University (1995 LLB Hons); College of Law (1996 Dip LP).


Flying light aircraft; travel; running; cricket.

London: Real estate

Commercial property

Within: Commercial property

The team at Burges Salmon LLP provides ‘technically sound and commercially astute advice’ and is ‘able to leverage and smoothly coordinate its vast experience in supporting disciplines, such as tax, which are integral to a real estate deal’. Of particular note, Philip Beer is advising the GLA on its development arrangements with ABP for the creation of a new business district at Royal Albert Dock. The team also has a longstanding reputation in Bristol, where Ross Polkinghorne is acting for Change Real Estate in relation to the 600,000 ft urban regeneration project at Redcliffe Quarter. Richard Read leads the firm’s real estate investment practice and has been involved in a number of portfolio transactions and major asset management mandates in the hotel and leisure sector. Cross-departmental head Richard Clark advised Aerium Finance on the £51m acquisition from Legal & General of units in a JPUT owning property in Cardiff; this matter was funded through conventional and Islamic finance structures. Colin Ligman heads the broader real estate group, which includes senior associate Drew Nesbitt, who is ‘instrumental in strategic investment and letting transactions’.

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London: Transport


Within: Rail

Burges Salmon LLP’s ‘outstanding’ rail department is active across regulatory, franchising and procurement work, in addition to major infrastructure and rolling stock projects. The ‘pragmatic and knowledgeable’  Brioney Thomas heads the rail practice and advised Abellio on its successful bid for the West Midlands rail franchise as part of West Midlands Trains, a JV that includes JRE and Mitsui. Thomas also advised West Midlands Trains on its successful bid for the West Midlands franchise. Thomas acted alongside rail infrastructure head Philip Beer for Transport for Wales and the Welsh government on the award of new rail franchise for Wales and the Borders. Head of rail franchising Simon Coppen advised FirstGroup on First MTR South Western Trains’ successful bid for the South Western franchise; he also advised on the procurement of a fleet of new trains to support First MTR South Western Trains’ successful bid for the South West passenger rail franchise, and is advising First Rail Holdings on its West Coast franchise bid submission. Other key figures include rail health and safety head Ann MetherallKeith Beattie, Ian Tucker, Rachael Ruane  and transport head Chris Jackson. Legal director Chris Simms joined in 2017 from Abellio UK. Legal director Edward Barratt was recently promoted.

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South West: Real estate

Commercial property: Bristol

Within: Commercial property: Bristol

Burges Salmon LLP is widely regarded as one of ‘the best legal firms in the region’ and ‘compares very well to the more expensive Magic Circle firms’. The team, which is split into specialist sub-groups, is regularly involved in major development projects, strategic land deals and procurement, infrastructure property mandates and investment transactions. Richard Clark heads the cross-department real estate sector group and advised Aerium Finance on its acquisition of units in a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT), which was financed by Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and an ultra-high-net-worth shari’ah investor. The development practice is headed by the ‘invaluableRoss Polkinghorne, who is advising Change Real Estate on all real estate aspects of the £200m mixed-use regeneration project at Redcliff Quarter in Bristol. Similarly, Philip Beer is acting for the Greater London Authority in relation to its development partner arrangements with a Chinese developer for the £1.7bn regeneration project at Royal Albert Dock in east London. Richard Read, who leads the property investment group, assisted Virgin Active with the disposal of 16 health and racquet clubs to David Lloyd Leisure. Colin Ligman heads the wider real estate department, which includes Euan Bremner and senior associate Drew Nesbitt.

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South West: Transport


Within: Rail

Burges Salmon LLP advises on all aspects of rail transport including regulatory, commercial, safety and strategy issues. Clients include train operating companies and rolling stock manufacturers such as Eurostar International, Northern Ireland Railways Company, Transport for London, Association of Train Operating Companies and Travelers Insurance Company. Head of Rail Brioney Thomas led on advising Abellio on its bid for the west midlands rail franchise, this was a joint venture that included JRE and Mitsui and was worth £1b. Simon Coppen led on advising FirstGroup on a joint venture with MTR Holdings to acquire the South Western franchise, this deal will involve £1.2b of investment over seven years. Another highlight includes acting for Transport for Wales in relation to its procurement of the next Wales and Border Rail Service and Metro on behalf of the Welsh Government, this deal is worth between £3b and £5b. Philip Beer is head of rail infrastructure, Ian Tucker was promoted to partner, Edward Barratt was promoted to legal director, he has ‘commitment, transparency and wide and deep subject knowledge’. Chris Jackson heads the transport sector and specialises in industry policy and strategy developments. Ann Metherall specialises in health and safety matters. Chris Simms joined as legal director from Abellio. The team provides ‘a very high quality of service, promptly turning work round to support the pace of active negotiations with broad knowledge and tailored advice’.

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Legal Developments by:
Burges Salmon LLP

  • Restoring environmental damage: putting a price on ecosystem services

    On 7 August 2009 a 40-inch pipeline ruptured, spilling 5,400 cubic metres of crude oil into the soil and groundwater of La Crau nature reserve in southern France, a habitat protected under French and European law. The operator had to excavate and replace 60,000 tons of soil, install 70 wells to pump and treat groundwater and 25 pumps to skim oil from surface water, at a cost in the region of €50m. However, this was just the primary remediation (that is, restoring the site to the state it would have been if the damage had not occurred). The operator was also required to compensate for the damage to the habitats and the loss of the ecosystem services that would otherwise have been provided by La Crau nature reserve. Measures included purchasing land outside of the nature reserve and contributing to its management for a period of 30 years (over €1m), monitoring the water table for 20 years (over €500,000), monitoring fauna over three years (€150,000) and rehabilitation in accordance with best available ecological techniques (nearly €2m). Overall, the compensatory restoration (to compensate for the amount of time that the ecosystem was impacted) and complimentary restoration (to compensate for elements of the ecosystem that had been permanently lost) came to more than €6.5m. 

    - Burges Salmon LLP

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