Wragge & Co's four-partner Residential Development team is helping meet the UK's need for new homes.
Working alongside top 10 developers including The Miller Group, Persimmon and Gleeson Developments, it is among the best-known names for residential development legal work in the UK. With more than 40 experts dedicated entirely to this discipline, it is also one of the biggest.
It works closely with the house builder teams both at the coalface and at their HQs. Strong relationships with the land buyers means this team is skilled in helping them negotiate, structure and deliver deals quickly and accurately. It also operates as the guardian of the parent company's interests, balancing the buyer's drive to buy up land banks with what is prudent, strategically, for the company.
Its experts are particularly skilled in managing large, high-value, complex projects involving multiple land uses and multiple parties. For example, lead partner Richard Bate has recently advised two consortia of formerly rival developers on a development of up to 10,000 new homes in the south of England.
They have also developed a reputation for advising on developments traditionally considered too difficult to be financially viable. Commercially and legally astute, these experts help take land with complications, such as contamination, inadequate infrastructure or bound by restrictive covenants, and turn them into disposable and profitable sites.
The Residential Development team also includes a strong plot sales team headed by partner Ashley Mitchell. This team ensures complex sites are set up correctly and provides day-to-day advice and assistance. Accuracy and efficiency are its priorities as it streamlines the legal part of the plot sales process. Partner Duncan Murphy led a team of plot sales professionals which helped Arsenal Football Club with the multi-million pound redevelopment of its 38,500-capacity Highbury stadium into a scheme comprising more than 700 apartments.
Residential development also receives strong support from Wragge & Co's construction, planning, tax, environment, corporate, banking and litigation specialists. Clients benefit from a rounded service that brings together individual specialists and residential development experience. Partner John Dixon worked with construction and PFI colleagues advising Gleeson Developments and Powerminster on their involvement in a social housing PFI scheme in Ashford, Kent. The project covers the development of 10 sites over five years comprising residential, commercial, retail and leisure accommodation.
Time is money and this team knows clients aren't paying for junior lawyers to cut their teeth on their deals. Long and varied experience means the team has encountered common problems and pitfalls of every complexion. It turns hindsight into foresight, ensuring each new team member inherits know-how and solutions garnered over decades of relevant experience. Clients also benefit from this live library of information through seminars on tax, planning, environment and other issues; helping them spot and avoid potential man-traps before (rather than after) they have happened.
The team includes members of The Home Builders Federation, the trade body at the heart of the industry. As well as maintaining a strong network of contacts, it experts help clients and other contacts stay on top of legal developments with regular alerts.