Real Estate | Land Development

We specialise in providing legal services in connection with residential development. We deal with all the legal aspects that arise between the time when a developer first identifies a potential development site and agrees heads of terms with the landowner, through to the stage where the development is completed, the units are sold and any ground rents or common parts are sold to an investor or management company.


We provide legal advice and services throughout the land development process including:

  • land acquisition and sale

  • strategic site assembly

  • options and promotion agreements

  • planning agreements to assist planning

  • contentious planning and judicial review

  • construction advice

  • property dispute resolution including disputed valuations and overage

  • setting up the plot sales document and management regime

  • affordable housing sales and development agreements

  • dealing with the plots sale process including sales exhibitions

  • adoption agreements and other ancillary documentation relating to plot sales

  • freehold reversion sales

We provide an integrated approach – we do not work as separate teams that do not communicate with one another, and we ensure that any transaction works from all points of view – balancing the requirements and concerns of the landowner and the developer during the acquisition process, ensuring that the planning permission and associated agreements work commercially, and that the structure of the deal and the planning obligations do not inhibit the sale of completed units. At whatever stage the members of our team deal with the matter, they all appreciate that the job is not done until all of the property is sold and all post-sales matters are concluded.

Most of our clients are companies within the house-building industry, but we also represent landowners, bringing our sector experience to bear to assist them in dealing with developers. We provide legal services to other consultants involved in the development process. We also act as recommended solicitors on substantial schemes, acting for plot purchasers on the recommendation of developers, including overseas sales exhibitions (for example Battersea Power Station).

Sector Experience

Our Guildford office has been working for the house building industry for over forty years. We are on the panel for two national house-builders, and are project solicitors for the Cambourne New Town. We also act for a number of smaller provincial and local developers.

We are familiar with all types of deal structures, and with dealing with a wide range of landowners, including public-sector bodies, substantial private landowners, charities and local government. Senior members of the team have, between them, many decades of experience in dealing with all types of developments, from the smaller single plot development to substantial mixed-use town centre regeneration schemes, and the new settlement at Cambourne in Cambridgeshire.

Affordable Housing

The provision of affordable housing has become an important element of the house-building industry over the last 20 years, and we have gained considerable experience in dealing with affordable housing disposals for our house-building clients. We are familiar with combined development agreements (encompassing both the land sale and construction elements), separate land sales agreements and building agreements, and sales of completed units.

We have dealt with conditional agreements put in place with registered providers on a subject-to-planning basis, with advance payment agreements, and with setting up standard-form transactions with a consortium of social landlords, drawing down phases of affordable housing on a large-scale scheme.


Related Expertise

Our Team