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Peter Brown likes Guinness

Over the last three years Peter Brown & Co, Solicitors LLP acted, initially on the acquisition but more recently on a sale of land with planning consent for 407 new homes at Imperial Street in Bromley-by-Bow, with a built-out value of approximately £200m. Peter Brown acted on the sale of this opportunity to a housing provider, The Guinness Partnership. The acquisition, procurement of planning, and, sale of the canal-side project was master minded by one of Peter Brown & Co’s longest standing clients, the landowner and property development specialists, Lindhill Properties Ltd.

Peter Brown of Peter Brown & Co, commented:

“The scheme hit numerous obstacles. There were challenges and complexities that required careful drafting and solutions. It was a bonus to have been involved from inception to conclusion”.

See article in the Estates Gazette

 

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Stamp Duty changes

At PB & CO whilst our clients are concerned about the stamp duty changes which are well documented in this article we are still seeing a lot of movement particularly in North London Property.

 

Paul Braham

 

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Latest News

“On Friday, 4th September, we acted for developers who exchanged contracts to purchase a long leasehold interest in a site from a London Borough. The transaction is conditional upon planning permission. The development will, in all probability, comprise restaurants, a cinema, a floor to be built out and used by the local authority probably within a joint venture and up to 150 residential units. Peter Brown represented the developers and commented; “The negotiating process was complex and protracted but the sweat and toil to bring a project of this nature to exchange is quickly forgotten and swept up in the euphoria of knowing that a development agreement is in place.” The terms of the contract are subject to confidentiality provisions and so the site address, the parties and specific details have had to be omitted.”

“Peter Brown & Co represented developer/contractors who have exchanged contracts conditional on procuring planning permission and develop a mix of council and private housing for and with a London Borough. The transaction involves at least 52 sites of varying size, most relatively small. We are excited to have been involved in and to have brought this joint venture beyond the contractual stage. The first phase should shortly receive planning permission and the second phase is progressing rapidly. The terms of the contract are subject to confidentiality provisions and so the site addresses, the parties and specific details have had to be omitted.”

“Bromley-by-Bow – Peter Brown & Co acted for developers on an agreement to acquire this development site. It forms part of the evolving master planning for a large area in Bromley-by-Bow South. This is a significant development opportunity for our clients. Depending on the ultimate mix, design and tenure there could be well over 400 units constructed on the site.”

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One Housing Group Limited

Peter Brown & Co acted for One Housing Group Limited in relation to a Development Agreement for Lease to acquire 149 affordable dwellings within the Ladderswood Estate, London N11. This transaction was particularly challenging as the documentation incorporated an obligation to acquire the residual freehold and long leasehold titles and to take on the management of the Estate following completion. The completed Estate will comprise new roads, a total of 517 self-contained dwellings, a community centre, commercial units and a hotel.

“In September 2013 we acted for clients who completed Phase I of a development consisting of 125 residential units and 1,250 square metres of flexible commercial space in Walthamstow, London E17. Our clients exchanged contracts on a subject to planning basis, procured planning permission, sub-sold all of the residential units to a Housing Association save for 23 private sale flats in a single block. Those 23 units will be developed by our clients funded partly by complex financing arrangements with the original landowners.”

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Court of Appeal Success

Peter Brown & Co acted on behalf of the Respondent Landlord, who successfully opposed an Appeal to the Court of Appeal by the ground rent lessees, relating to a property in the main Palmers Green Shopping Area. Judgment in the appeal – Stuart Charles Henley and Anor v. Emmanuel Cohen – Appeal Number 20113 (EWCA) Civ 480 – was handed down on the 2nd May 2013 and has been widely reported and commented upon in both the legal and property press.

The Lessees had made an application under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 to purchase the freehold. The 1967 Act gives the right to lessees of houses who hold long leases at a ground rent, to acquire the freehold reversion or a 50-year lease extension. Over the years since the 1967 Act was passed, this right has been held to apply in certain instances where there were “mixed properties”, that is properties which were in part residential and in part commercial, the right applying to the entirety of the property.

The building in question was a ground floor shop in a multiple shopping parade with a first floor, previously used for warehousing and storage, but with a separate entrance. The tenant of the entire building converted the first floor to a flat and then claimed the right to acquire the freehold of the entire building under the provisions of the 1967 Act. The principal issue was whether the “building” was a house “reasonably so called” within the meaning of the 1967 Act.

In addition to arguing that the building was not a house reasonably so called, our client also argued that the works of conversion of the first floor to a flat were unauthorised under the particular terms of the ground-rent lease and as a related point, that the tenants were prohibited from relying upon the unauthorised works of conversion in order to contend that the first floor premises were adapted for living in within the meaning of the 1967 Act.

Although in practice it was necessary for our client to succeed on only one of the issues he in fact succeeded on all three.

The case was handled by Mike Waller, who instructed Alan Rosenthal of Counsel, and involved both consideration of the legal issues involved, in particular in the light of the extensive previous, and in some cases arguably conflicting, case law and also liaison with our Counsel.

Whilst the case was decided on its own facts, the consensus is that the decision may mark the end of a period of expansion of the right to enfranchise mixed use buildings under the 1967 Act.

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London Wharf Update

We recently completed the transfer to London Wharf plc of a site in London N16 following the grant of planning permission for the construction of a Church and Nursery plus 30 residential units. This was the culmination of a joint venture agreement. Building works are progressing. We have assisted our clients with a pre-sale agreement in relation to all 30 residential units. The joint venture agreement encompassed another site which now has planning permission for a replacement Church and 13 residential units. Together with Christian Francis of DLA Piper, who acts for the mortgagees, we are about to complete the first phase of the development finance. In addition, a joint venture/underwriting deal for the pre-sale of the 13 flats in the second phase of the development has similarly exchanged.

This has turned out to be a highly successful project despite having to overcome numerous complexities. Peter Brown who led the team commented “Although we pride ourselves in creating simple but effective structures for development projects, this one had to be complex in order to take into account the requirements of the landowners. A pragmatic and commercial result has been achieved which we are all very proud of.”

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Mergers and Acquisitions

We are very happy to announce that from 1st October 2012 Mike Waller and Mike Harding of Earle & Waller and Pamela Murphy and Caroline Schloss of Schubert Murphy have agreed to join us as consultants. We have admired their work for many years and are very excited by the opportunities this will open up for all of us and our clients.

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Highbury Park in North London

Peter Brown & Co are pleased to announce that they acted for Mount Anvil in the purchase and finance of a prime site off Highbury Park in North London. They also acted on the sub sale of the social housing element of the development to a leading London social housing provider Family Mosaic Housing Association. The three-acre site was the former headquarters of Action for Children.

The commercial scheme consists of 143 homes (82 properties for private sale and 61 affordable homes) together with a nursery and community facilities, all set within mature landscaped grounds. This scheme has a build value of approximately thirty million pounds.

Peter Brown who headed the team said: “Helping our clients to deliver this deal in a difficult climate is something we are very proud of. Satisfying mortgagees and their solicitor’s requirements in respect of the development finance involved commitment, late nights and stretched the goodwill of our dedicated team at Peter Brown & Co to whom I am most grateful.”