Our people

930 professionals at Knights service 12,000 clients across the full spectrum of legal & professional services.

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Tom Bower

Partner
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Tom Bower

Partner

Tom is a Partner in the Retail team.

Tom advises property developers, investors and retail clients, with an equal focus on freehold and leasehold acquisitions and development and disposals.

His practice involves highly pressurised multi-party transactions typically entailing extremely complex documentation, complicated title issues, conditional contracts and pre-lets, and due diligence. Where appropriate, Tom liaises with the planning team to ensure the best advice for his clients.

Tom’s clients include national names such as The White Company and Dunelm, Quora Developments and real estate investment trust Glenstone Property.

Recent examples of how Tom has helped clients include:

  • successfully acquiring the new London head office for The White Company in a brand new office development on the site of the old White City BBC studio;
  • acquiring typically brownfield sites for Quora, each transaction valued at about £15m, pursuant to contracts conditional on planning permission, and with pre-lets of up to eight retail units under building agreements for lease, also conditional on planning; and
  • following these acquisitions for Quora, successfully selling on the investment in a tax efficient way.
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Julie Carr

Partner
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Julie Carr

Partner

Julie is a Partner in the Development team.

Julie has worked across both the commercial and residential development spectrum and in more recent years has focused on residential and mixed use development, acting for various stakeholders including developers with hundreds of acres of land to be sold and developed, planning promoters and land owners in relation to strategic land development and for developers in relation to PRS (private rented sector/build to rent in) schemes.

Julie has dealt with all aspects of acquisition and disposal of residential land, including setting up complicated freehold and leasehold disposals.

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Rosemary Edwards

Partner
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Rosemary Edwards

Partner

Rosemary is a Partner in the Development team.

Rosemary advises on site acquisitions and disposals, strategic land assembly, options and promotion agreements, overage agreements, and deferred payments.

Rosemary oversees collaborations between consortiums of landowners and  developers, negotiating the provisions of collaboration agreements and following these through in the contract documentation . She actively seeks out opportunities for landowners to maximise the potential value of their land while ensuring that developers minimise their risks and achieve workable provisions for the longer-term development of the site.

Rosemary also has specialist experience in setting up estate management schemes to provide for the effective management and maintenance of housing estates.

Rosemary acts for some of the UK’s leading house builders and registered providers as well as for landowners in connection with the acquisition, sale, and development of land for house building. Her clients include Avant Homes, Barratt / David Wilson Homes, Beal Homes, Duchy Homes, Home Group and Your Housing Group.

Recent examples of how Rosemary has helped clients include:

  • leading the legal aspects of the acquisition and development of David Wilson Homes’ flagship scheme at the 27-acre Chocolate Works site in York, including setting up estate management documentation to ensure the smooth sale and management of the dwellings;
  • completing the acquisition of a canal-side site in central Manchester on behalf of Belgravia Living, and securing the development and funding of the site as a PRS apartment scheme, including development funding and subsequent investment funding;
  • working with a group of landowners to facilitate the disposal of a large residential site in West Sussex with planning consent for 300 units, including deferred payment arrangements, clawback, overage and collaboration arrangements between the numerous landowners; and
  • securing the acquisition of a 290 dwelling development site on behalf of Barratt Homes pursuant to option agreements entered some years earlier, involving site assembly and resolving title issues, disposal of part of the site to another developer and collaboration arrangements to enable the developers to work together.
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Karen Herbert

Partner
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Karen Herbert

Partner

Karen is a Partner in the Development and Real Estate teams.

Karen advises developers and property clients on land acquisitions, including freehold and leasehold titles, options for conditional contracts where the land purchase is dependent on detailed planning permission, on pre-lets on development sites where clients need to know they have end tenants in place, and on overage issues.

With multi-party deals a frequent feature of her practice, Karen liaises with landlords, funders’ solicitors and other third parties, undertakes due diligence, negotiates documentation, and investigates titles covering large pieces of land. She works collaboratively with clients, liaising with planning, construction and corporate colleagues.

Karen also advises banks and other lenders to ensure their security on commercial lending is watertight.  Her clients are mainly based in the East Midlands but own properties and development sites nationally, including Jelson Ltd, LSP Developments Ltd and Quora Developments Ltd.

Recent examples of how Karen has helped clients include:

  • successfully concluding the complicated transfer for land acquisition for a local centre, with development obligations on both the client and the seller, five pre-lets, step-in rights, liquidated damages and overage provisions;
  • exchanging a conditional contract as a going concern sale of a site to an investor, with a 999-year lease back of the first floor on completion;
  • successfully concluding the unconditional land acquisition for the purchase of a public house where tricky issues included historic overage, an existing restriction, new overage and title issues; and
  • completing a land acquisition on time, despite involving five sellers and seven titles, the sale of part of one title and the release of a third-party option.
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Jonathon Hogg

Partner
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Jonathon Hogg

Partner

Jonathon is a Partner in the Real Estate team.

Jonathon's experience covers a range of commercial real estate transactions including the sale and purchase of freehold and leasehold premises, the acquisition of land for development and the drafting and negotiation of commercial leases and option agreements,

Jonathon acts for individuals and companies in a range of industry sectors and also acts for large-scale property investors and developers.

Recent examples of how Jonathon has helped clients include:

  • enabling a client to secure a site for residential development worth £6.5 million by carrying out due diligence in 5 days, enabling the client to agree a deal for the site ahead of his rival developers;
  • accelerating an investor's purchase of a £18 million property portfolio in London by leading a round table meeting between all parties to discuss the final issues, cutting out weeks of correspondence and delay; and
  • enabling a business to expand into a new industrial unit by quickly negotiating favourable lease terms.
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James Lunt

Partner
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James Lunt

Partner

James is a Partner in the Real Estate team.

James advises on the full spectrum of real estate matters including development, options to acquire, land promotion agreements, the sale and purchase of commercial and agricultural property, non-contentious lease and asset management (acting for both landlord and tenant) and secured lending.

James works across the UK for property investors and promoters, developers, landed estates, asset managers and banks.

Recent examples of how James has helped clients include:

  • enabling a property investment company  to forward purchase a new build 38,000 square feet warehouse subject to an agreement for lease to an occupational tenant,
  • ensuring that the development agreement and lease fully protected both the the purchaser and its lender with appropriate new build and tenant obligations;
  • securing a site for a land promoter by way of a promotion agreement and acting in the onward sale of the site for residential development;
  • assisting in the sale of land to a national house builder conditional upon planning permission being granted and involving the negotiation and completion of a complex agreement involving drainage over adjoining development land; and
  • purchasing a newly constructed petrol station for an investor with a national supermarket occupier, ensuring new build warranties and environmental reports were in place.
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Ceri Roderick

Partner
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Ceri Roderick

Partner

Ceri is a Partner in the Real Estate team.

Ceri advises on commercial property matters, including mixed use and residential developments, the acquisition and disposal of sites, conditional sale agreements, promotion and collaboration contracts, options and overage provisions, build agreements and site set-up arrangements.  She also advises on lease negotiations and on renewable energy transactions, including solar and wind farms.

Ceri acts for developers, house builders and landowners across a range of sectors, including retail and leisure.  She is also experienced in the peculiarities of data centres and in the challenges posed by the development and letting of industrial estates.

Recent examples of how Ceri has helped clients include:

  • devising promotion and collaboration agreements for a mixed-use 80 acre development site and dealing with the subsequent sale, which required the release of third-party restrictive covenants and the grant of easements for services;
  • selling a residential development site, subject to the reservation of development rights and overage provisions, with an obligation on the buyer to carrying out infrastructure works for the benefit of property retained by the landowner;
  • negotiating an option agreement on behalf of a landowner which permitted tenant occupation subject to planning permission being obtained for an anaerobic digestion system; and
  • acquiring a data centre on renegotiated lease terms providing for higher rent payments in return for fixed terminal dilapidations liability and an agreed programme of planned repair and maintenance for plant, machinery and services.
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Brona Simmonds

Partner
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Brona Simmonds

Partner

Brona is a Partner in the Real Estate team.

Brona advises on the acquisition and sale of development sites, conditional contracts, options, promotion agreements, joint ventures, development and overage or clawback agreements, the sale and purchase of farms and agricultural land, agricultural tenancies and subsidies, heritage properties and tailored commercial and residential funding.

Brona's clients include landed estates, agricultural families, private business owners, developers, trusts, charities, local authorities and registered social landlords.

Recent examples of how Brona has helped clients include:

  • identifying a risk in a complex multi-party funding agreement and improving the client's position;
  • helping a client acquire units on a development site which required liaison with the local authority, a third-party developer and a grant funder within a strict timetable; and
  • completing, in time for crop planting, the purchase of a large area of agricultural land which was being sold in lots by connected, but inefficient, sellers.
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Holly Smith

Partner
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Holly Smith

Partner

Holly is a Partner in the Real Estate team.

Holly has over ten years experience in corporate real estate and property finance, working closely with colleagues in tax, construction and planning to conclude acquisitions and disposals development agreements, lease negotiations and occupancy arrangements.

Holly advises private and institutional lenders, investors, developers and occupiers across industry sectors.  Her particular expertise is real estate in the care sector, covering children's nurseries, nursing homes, pharmacies and dental practices.

Recent examples of how Holly has helped clients include:

  • facilitating the purchase of a site comprising one dwelling for redevelopment of two separate dwellings by negotiating a conditional purchase agreement, securing planning permission and agreeing private equity funding;
  • the purchase and refurbishment of a high-value apartment by negotiating with freehold and management on onerous leasehold restrictions and complex funding and building alteration issues; and
  • ensuring a lender could proceed confidently with a developer's purchase of a site for an ice-rink by assessing complex multiple titles, restrictive covenants, extra planning checks and health and safety considerations.

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Siobhan Smyth

Partner
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Siobhan Smyth

Partner

Siobhan is a Partner in the Development and Real Estate teams.

Siobhan undertakes a broad range of commercial real estate work, including freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant matters and property portfolio management.  The majority of her time is spent on development projects where she helps to devise development management agreements, deals with funding arrangements, negotiates conditional contracts and rights of pre-emption, resolves site issues affecting development potential and concludes associated agreements for the grant of options and overage payments.

Siobhan’s clients include property developers, commercial property holding companies and individuals with a personal property portfolio.   She also acts for clients in corporate transactions with commercial real estate assets.  Her work spans a range of sectors, including the automotive industry.

Recent examples of how Siobhan has helped clients include:

  • acting for a major developer in the acquisition of a 120 acre site and dealing with associated finance arrangements and pre-let agreements with end users;
  • resolving issues around adverse covenants, unregistered land ownership and a lack of rights in respect of land purchased by a developer client which needed to be addressed before a proposed residential development could proceed; and
  • assisting a client with the refinancing of a large part of their commercial property portfolio using the specialist City of London Certificate of Title and dealing with the numerous additional lender reporting requirements this entails.
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Kathryn Wood

Partner
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Kathryn Wood

Partner

Kathryn is a Partner in the Development team.

Kathryn deals with the acquisition and disposal of land for residential development, providing advice and support on the negotiation of conditional contracts, options, promotion agreements, overage provisions, infrastructure and access arrangements, development/collaboration agreements and setting up sites for plot sales.

She also advises on build-to-rent schemes for companies who specialise in private rented developments.

Kathryn acts for regional and national housebuilders, promotors as well as individual and corporate landowners.  Her clients include Avant Homes, Barratt/David Wilson Homes, Duchy Homes, Jones Homes and Keepmoat Homes.

Recent examples of how Kathryn has helped clients include:

  • negotiating a hybrid promotion and option agreement between a regional housebuilder and a landowner which included bolstering existing access rights across third party land to allow for the construction of an adoptable estate road;
  • converting a partially developed housing estate from leasehold to freehold ownership on behalf of a regional housebuilder, after a backlash against new build properties being sold on a leasehold basis;
  • negotiating a reduction in the size of a development plot for a landowner to carve out an access road to retained land which was also ripe for residential use but which would have been landlocked under the original terms agreed with the prospective buyer; and
  • acquiring a former colliery site in Swadlincote for Avant Homes which has been earmarked for the development of 400 homes in a project estimated to generate sale receipts of £80 million.
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Jonathan Wright

Partner
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Jonathan Wright

Partner

Jonathan is a Partner in the Real Estate team.

Jonathan advises on site acquisition and redevelopment, and has handled projects as diverse as hospital redevelopments, canal-side properties for leisure, offices and social housing, brownfield sites, listed building restoration and data centres.  He has particular expertise in acquiring and financing sites for renewable energy with their specific requirements regarding access to the power supply network, technical issues and power purchase agreements.

A number of Jonathan’s clients have large property portfolios, and he handles all aspects of asset management including new leases and lease renewals, as well as handling any property issues such as service charges or dilapidations, and any tenancy disputes.

Jonathan acts for commercial property owners, investors, developers and tenants. His clients include one of the UK’s largest fast food franchises with over one hundred units, a European headquartered corporate property developer, a renewable energy business, private developers and a number of high-net-worth family trusts.

Recent examples of how Jonathan has helped clients include:

  • refinancing several established solar power farms, and negotiating power purchase agreements for new sites on industrial roof-space on behalf of a specialist renewable energy fund;
  • negotiating private wire agreements with a renewable energy plant;
  • acquiring numerous sites and managing the property portfolio for a leading fast food franchisor; and
  • acting for a series of landowners in a landmark mixed use regeneration scheme.