Our people

600 professionals at Knights service 10,000 clients across the full spectrum of legal & professional services.

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Andy Bailey

Partner
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Andy Bailey

Partner

A partner in real estate specialising in mines and minerals, development and construction.

Andy's clients include leading mine and minerals operators, landed estate owners and real estate developers who turn to him for his transactional skills and attention to detail.  He provides strategic insights, drawn from a career that takes in the first significant urban wind turbine construction in the UK and the challenges involved in the de-contamination of former factory sites for housing.

Andy has expertise in advising on routes to unlock asset value and he regularly assembles and manages multi-disciplinary teams to tackle challenges beyond real estate.

Recent examples of how Andy has helped clients include:

• enabling a landowner to sell, and a developer and house builder to transform, a former quarry into a mixed-use scheme of 200 houses, a superstore and a retirement village by advising on planning agreements, risk mitigation and complex engineering covenants;

• ensuring the successful merger between Newcastle-under-Lyme College and Stafford College; and

• enabling the construction of a major £15 million office headquarters by acting as the client's trusted advisor.

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Tom Bower

Partner
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Tom Bower

Partner

A real estate lawyer specialising in property development.

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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Deborah Ceadel

Partner
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Deborah Ceadel

Partner

A planning partner with 25 years experience including nine years working in local government.

Deborah's clients are major house builders, developers, landed estates, local authorities and Oxford colleges.  She has been involved in Oxfordshire's largest and most complex developments, delivering thousands of new homes and significant infrastructure.

Deborah's expertise is in complex planning obligations related to commercial and residential development, town centre redevelopment and the delivery of infrastructure.  She also advises on issues relating to highways and infrastructure including highway agreements and road closures.

Clients and planning officers benefit from Deborah's experience of having worked within local government and the insight that this brings.

Recent examples of how Deborah has helped clients include:

• successfully negotiating a complex planning obligation involving parks, swimming pools, highways and affordable housing, enabling a house builder to construct hundreds of homes, and the local authority to meet its housing target;

• ensuring the viability and profitability of a project to convert commercial premises to residential; and

• navigating the complexities of charitable exemption for the owners of two care homes relating to the community infrastructure levy.

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Russell Coddington

Partner
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Russell Coddington

Partner

A commercial real estate partner, specialising in mines and minerals.

Russell advises on joint ventures, development of new sites, acquisition and disposal, and site feasibility for alternative use following restoration.  He also advises on acquisition and disposal of investment property and matters associated with the redevelopment of rural and commercial land, including multi-party option and promotion agreements.

Russell acts for landowners and operators in the mines and minerals sector, such as Hanson and The Hills Group, institutional investors including M&G Real Estate and First Property Group plc, and developers such as Henry Boot.

Recent examples of how Russell has helped clients include:

• enabling an institutional investor to purchase a distressed multi-let industrial estate and, by maintaining a good buyer-seller relationship, resolve delays due to title defects;

• enabling the extraction of gravel under a lease, despite uncertainties over third party utility infrastructure; and

• ensuring a developer and a builder could purchase and convert office space to residential use by drafting a contract that matched funding and works input and minimised legal costs.

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Nisha Gohel

Partner
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Nisha Gohel

Partner

A commercial real estate solicitor, specialising in development projects and landlord and tenant matters.

Nisha advises on the non-contentious aspects of commercial property transactions, including land acquisitions, sales and purchases, financing arrangements and day-to-day portfolio management.  The majority of her work involves large scale, high-value new build or redevelopment projects and complex landlord and tenant arrangements calling for bespoke lease terms and unique structuring arrangements.  Alongside this she provides more general landlord and tenant advice on lease renewals and surrenders, consents to assignment and subletting, licences to carry out alterations and termination provisions. Nisha is fluent in Gujarati.

She acts for national retailers, SMEs, banks, investors, pension funds, private equity groups and venture capitalist organisations. Her clients include Poundstretcher Ltd, SIG plc, Sytner Group, Reel Cinemas Ltd, Shearer Property Group and Cambridge and Counties Bank Ltd.

Recent examples of how Nisha has helped clients include:

  • putting in place appropriate security for a bank which was lending £16 million to the owners of a chain of caravan parks in a part new, part refinancing deal to enable the business to expand and where there was another lender in the frame over which our banking client’s interests had priority; and
  • renegotiating lease terms and unit configuration with a number of tenants to ensure their presence in a property belonging to our landlord developer client did not interfere with a planned redevelopment of the property as part of a city centre retail and leisure scheme.
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Karen Herbert

Partner
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Karen Herbert

Partner

A real estate lawyer with expertise in residential development.

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

A real estate lawyer specialising in  the acquisition of sites for residential and commercial development

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

A commercial real estate lawyer.

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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Helen Nash

Partner
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Helen Nash

Partner

An experienced commercial property lawyer.

Helen advises clients on all aspects of real estate law, with much of her work relating to long term projects for property development or onshore gas exploration which first require land assembly, option agreements or promotion agreements between landowners and developers.

When planning and extraction permissions have been achieved, Helen advises on the sale, purchase or lease negotiations and transactions; securing rights of access, overage provisions or imposing appropriate covenants, dealing with lease management issues such as permissions for change of use or sub-letting, and property finance.

Helen advises landlords, tenants and developers on property transactions throughout England and Wales. Her clients include international energy companies, national utilities, colleges and student organisations, property developers, local community groups and farmers.

Recent examples of how Helen has helped clients include:

• completing a lease to place crowd-funded solar panels on the roof of a local authority leisure centre on behalf of a community benefit society;

• resolving a dispute between two commercial landowners through the creation of a new right of way with unique conditions;

• completing the lease for one of the first on-shore gas extraction sites in the UK;

• minimising the impact of anti-fracking protestors on traffic by agreeing a lease for a safe alternative site for protest; and

• helping safeguard the financial future of a struggling farm by the negotiation of an option and promotion agreement with a property developer.

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Brona Simmonds

Partner
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Brona Simmonds

Partner

An experienced property lawyer who has been advising landowners for nearly 30 years.

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

A commercial real estate lawyer, specialising in development sites and care premises.

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

A commercial real estate lawyer, specialising in development projects.

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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Richard Wyvill

Partner
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Richard Wyvill

Partner

A commercial real estate solicitor, specialising in landlord and tenant matters.

Richard advises on the non-contentious aspects of the landlord and tenant relationship, including initial lease agreements, lease renewals, licences to assign, sublet or carry out alterations, deeds of variation to cover a change of use, holding over arrangements for 1954 Act contracted out tenancies, lease termination formalities and the operation of contractual break clauses.

Richard also advises on the acquisition and disposal of commercial property, particularly for pension funds and other investment groups, together with large-scale development projects and refinancing deals and assists the owners and occupiers of industrial estates, out of town warehousing units and purpose built office buildings in their property requirements.

The majority of his work is for national retail tenants taking leases of retail units within major UK shopping centres, although he also regularly acts for national tenants taking leases of large scale units on edge of town and out of town retail parks. Notable clients include The White Company, Heals and Dunelm.

Recent examples of how Richard has helped clients include:

  • enabling the seller of development land to maximise the return on their investment by retaining ownership of the upper floor of one of the new buildings, a suite of residential flats to sell the same independently from the remainder of the site;
  • protecting the interests of a national retail tenant which was about to sign a lease for new flagship offices which the landlord did not fully own, and which could have exposed our client to significant financial risk had it not been spotted and rectified before the lease was completed;
  • ensuring the tenant of a nightclub was not exposed to an unnecessary stamp duty land tax bill by restructuring a lease agreement so that the refit works the landlord had agreed to fund, and which the tenant was obliged to repay with interest, were documented as a formal loan arrangement rather than higher rent; and
  • negotiating the purchase of a locomotive and rolling stock repair facility on behalf of a consortium of buyers who required specialist advice on a range of covenants, peculiar to the rail industry, which affected the facility and permitted land use.
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Lee Hayes

Senior Associate
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Lee Hayes

Senior Associate

A real estate lawyer specialising in mines and minerals.

Lee provides advice on a range of commercial property matters, from the acquisition and disposal of quarries and industrial estates, to the taking or granting of leases and licenses for premises in multiple occupation and the creation or reservation of easements, wayleaves and options.  He also advises on the sale and purchase of potential development sites.

Lee acts for some of the UK's biggest producers of aggregates and building materials, and for private landowners and developers.

Examples of how Lee has helped clients include:

• negotiating the exchange of conditional contracts for the sale of a former brickworks in a deal worth £2.7 million where issues needed to be resolved around environmental permits, Japanese knotweed guarantees and newt protection;

• successfully completing the sale of two disused quarries, occupying a 350-acre site, which required the grant and removal of various rights and restrictions and the - resolution of issues of ownership in respect of existing stockpiles of minerals;

• securing an option agreement with one of the UK's largest supermarket chains for the sale of a development site worth £4 million, which avoided the landowner having to divide the site into lots to achieve the desired development scheme; and

• facilitating the acquisition of two redundant local authority-owned sites for a housing association for the token sum of £1, given the need for extensive environmental remediation works to be carried out before the sites could be brought back into use.

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Rebecca Jenkins

Solicitor
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Rebecca Jenkins

Solicitor

Rebecca is a solicitor in the Planning and Asset Management teams.