Burges Salmon team scoops trio of top awards

The South West is home to the UK’s premier legal real estate team following The Lawyer Awards 2011, the most sought after awards in the profession. Burges Salmon’s 80-strong real estate team resisted fierce competition from London’s top law firms to be named Real Estate Team of the Year 2011 at a prestigious ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane last week.

This is the latest in a string of awards for the firm which was named at the British Legal Awards 2010 Property Team of the Year and, earlier in 2010 at the Insider Awards (South West), Commercial Property Law Firm of the Year.

Head of Real Estate, Richard Clark, welcomed this latest recognition, saying: “It is a great achievement to receive industry acknowledgment of our work. This award confirms our position as one of the leading real estate teams in the UK and is a clear endorsement of our strength in depth and our market leading expertise and innovative service delivery”.

The firm’s winning submission focused on four major UK land sales for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in a site disposal programme which enabled the UK government to kick start its new nuclear build programme. Sites at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, Bradwell in Essex and Wylfa on Anglesey, were sold by an innovative online “ebay” style auction; with a further site at Sellafield sold shortly thereafter.

“This was the first time a law firm had fully addressed the complexities of nuclear new build since 1983, therefore the programme of work attracted intense government, public and international interest” said Clark. Led by Partners Ian Salter (Head of Nuclear) and Paul Browne (Head of Nuclear Property) the core team on the project consisted of over 40 Burges Salmon lawyers plus the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s in-house legal team negotiating with seven legal teams of several consortia bidders over 19 months. “This was an incredibly demanding task, involving lawyers working in shifts on a 24/7 basis. It is testament to the department as a whole that levels of client service across the board were maintained throughout,” he said.

Whilst operating nationally and internationally, the real estate team is recognised as the South West heavyweight. In addition to acting for numerous household names including The Crown Estate, FirstGroup, Orange, Nationwide and Lloyds Banking Group, Burges Salmon is currently advising on some of the largest and most important projects in the region including:

– advising East Devon District Council on a series of ground breaking and historically significant development projects (to provide 3,000 homes, a biomass heating facility, a 1.4m sq ft business park and world class science park, intermodal freight facility with a new railhead link to London mainline, a hotel and state of the art training facility for pilots at Exeter Airport)

– advising St Modwen Developments Limited on a 17 year Development Agreement with the Homes and Communities Agency for the creation of a new mixed use community at Locking Parklands, Weston Super Mare, Somerset

– advising a landowning consortium in Sherford Valley in ongoing dealings with the promoter and developer of a new, nationally significant 5,500 house settlement to the east of Plymouth

– providing advice on all aspects of the redevelopment of the Grand Pier, Weston Super Mare, following destruction by fire in 2008