Our dedicated science parks team provide legal services to support science and technology parks, incubators and accelerators and their tenants and use their experience to find legal and commercially viable solutions to any issues that may arise.
We are active participants in the UK Science Park Association, attending and supporting most UKSPA members’ meetings around the UK. Our team have been advising science, technology and research parks for well over thirty years.
Our team has experience in dealing with projects of all scales, from a single incubation facility through to major campus projects which have evolved over decades, and whether university- or research facility-led or run by private developers/landowners, the public sector or through some sort of joint venture. From consultation on design and commercial structure of a new park, through to enabling an existing scheme to re-assess its objectives or to re-design its operational structure, to us there’s nothing new under the sun, but always a solution to be found: now what’s your question?
From regular instructions – for instance the regular letting of an incubator or innovation centre where we look to help a science park bring new tenants to its site, and the relocation of the tenants within the site as needs require – to one-off projects: the design and development of a bespoke research facility, for example, or the adaptation of old buildings to a change into high-tech uses, for example, we can guide you with the complexities and bring you and your project to a secure future.
Though driven by a property base, our experience with science, research and technology parks, in general, is that they create an environment that facilitates the support and growth of the tenant businesses. However, they are still a commercial entity, particularly as we see a wider range of investors and owners moving into the sector. As such, we have established a range of expertise within our team that aim to ensure your park will remain commercially viable., yet able to retain and enhance a supportive environment that will further the benefits of project and the gains a science park can bring to a community or sub-region.
Are you the operator, owner or developer of a science park?
We advise on all aspects of owning and operating a science or research park from the formation of the operating entity, through initial development and its funding – both secured and by grant – land acquisition and planning and on- and off-site infrastructure, through to day-to-day letting management, gained by advising on many projects across the UK.
On larger projects, or where multiple lettings are required, our science park team works hand-in-hand with our real estate team which comprises experienced commercial property lawyers, who regularly advise on complex property acquisitions and lettings for landlords, tenants, developers and funders, particularly the clearing banks.
Science and research parks may also need advice and solutions on other areas and issues, and our team draws further upon other specialist lawyers across the firm, all of whom understand the sector’s needs.
Away from the real estate side, we can also help you resolve issues relating to corporate structures, commercial agreements, terms of business, data protection and freedom of information, employment, HR services, general litigation and environmental matters – if it’s a problem faced by any commercial business, we have specialists ready to help find solutions.
More specific information about the various ways our teams can assist you with a variety of issues that may arise is set out below.
Science park operators
Over the last 30 years, the team at Wright Hassall, led by partner Barry Sankey,have developed a flexible approach to managing science parks. With fast turn-around times for documentation and options for generating bespoke leases within a standard precedent, the team at Wright Hassall view themselves as an extension of the science park management to assist with the smooth running of the park in general.
The aim of our team is to protect the science park and its assets, while appreciating the ultimate goal of a viable and profitable business that harbours a supportive environment for businesses to develop and grow.
Our experiences to date indicate that most science parks are cooperative in nature and strive to help tenant’s to grow their company, develop their business with a hope of their tenant organisations graduating from accelerators and on-site smaller incubation or innovation units into larger commercial spaces.
Leasing premises does not simply require getting a lease in place. Having robust documentation outlining specific break and repair obligations in important, but so too is the facilitation of a tenant’s entry into or exit from your property.
As well as the leases required for the units on a science park that is already fully operational, there are a variety of other property transactions that may appear from time to time.
Working with our wider commercial property team, we can support a science park to expand, either by purchasing a new site for development (for which our planning and construction colleagues would also assist) or redeveloping old buildings and areas. Furthermore,our team can assist to ensure that the day-to-day running of the park is smooth by getting Management Agreements in place to clarify the relevant roles of involved parties.
Our property investment and finance teams can support any science park looking to raise finance, through mortgages, charges, debentures, or selling off other portfolio properties. The range of commercial transactions that our team supports can directly translate into ensuring that a science park too is run in a financially viable manner.
Finally, our science park team has also dealt with a number of bespoke queries for our science park clients. For example, State Aid and the way in which they impact a science park’s operation is a query that has been increasingly raised over the last 12 months.
As a science park expands or looks to redevelop existing properties, a range of planning related queries may be raised. From submitting the initial applications for a development, through to the negotiation and completion of a range of agreements, our planning team can cover all stages of these transactions.
With a range of expertise dealing with Compulsory Purchase Orders and providing guidance on the legislative changes (e.g. amended Community Infrastructure Levy regulations), any queries
Our planning team can also advise and assist clients with the Judicial Reviews process and any appeals and enforcement thereafter.
Immediately the term construction will imply the physical construction of the science park buildings. While our team will eagerly assist in any the project such as this, further consideration can be given to the support that our construction team can give to an existing site.
Other areas we can assist with rolling repair and maintenance obligations of all buildings on site. From contract negotiation to managing the supply chain we can help. Tenant fit outs and dilapidations, risk management, service delivery times and branding, are all points at which our construction team can support.
Construction is about more than just the physical building of a property. The maintenance, upkeep, latent defects are all issues that can occur long after a property is built.
No matter how well-managed your science park may be, you may find yourself with a tenant who proves challenging to a landlord. Our property litigation team deal with all elements of property-related litigation from enforcing covenants to the forfeiture of leases.
Working with an understanding of the Science Park, innovation and incubation ethos of assisting and supporting tenants to build and develop; our property litigation specialists will provide practical solutions which protect your position in a fair way.
The corporate challenges facing the owner / landlord of a Science Park can be varied, particularly with reductions in public funding and the increase in joint ventures of the parks. Our corporate team are on hand to assist with Joint Venture Agreements, providing assistance through the corporate governance and compliance regimes.
Queries and issues arise for all companies, and the corporate team is well placed to help resolve any such concerns.
If you are an owner ,landlord , operator, manager or developer of an accelerator, incubator or a science or technology park and would like to talk to us about any of the items identified here, please contact any member of our science park team or email the team via email@example.com and we’ll arrange for the relevant specialist to get back to you - that initial call back will be free-of-charge and without obligation.
Are you a tenant or occupier at a science park?
As a multi-disciplinary firm, Wright Hassall has a range of experienced personnel waiting to assist you with all elements of running your business.
In our experience, tenants at science parks are often exciting new businesses that are looking to grow and establish in their relevant market place. If you’re a new business looking for guidance in the way to proceed, or an established businesses looking to expand there are a variety of legal and commercial issues that will be faced.
Alternatively, a tenant may be looking to graduate from a science park to grow into a fully-fledged and potentially floated company or perhaps the business has been propositioned for a merger with a large company. The implications of such a change are potentially daunting with a number of queries to be raised.
Our science park team have a range of expertise to help clients to overcome the spectrum of issues faced at the different stages of a company lifecycle. For more specialist, team specific information, please see the relevant teams below.
Science park occupiers and technology-based business tenants
Our corporate team advise a range of businesses (public or private, owner managed, entrepreneur start-ups) throughout the corporate lifecycle. From starting up a new company, company secretarial services, assisting with mergers and acquisitions of companies to financial and corporate restructuring of an established company our corporate team will have the expertise to help.
The corporate team have previous provided science park tenants with advice on many issues, from shareholder resolutions, proxy forms and general company secretarial services, though to management and minority protection.
Our Commercial team help entrepreneurs and other corporations support the day-to-day operation of their business and help them to maximise profit while minimising risk. From drafting or updating terms of business and ensuring confidentiality against competitors to helping software development and licensing, our range of expertise will be able to assist you to take your business forward.
Our commercial team have previously helped other science park tenants with clinical trial agreements, social media disclaimers and supply agreements.
Our employment team know that the people within a business are a major asset, particularly where that business is in its infant stages or development. As such ensuring that, any employment contracts used provide certainty for all parties and the right person is hired to take your business forward, are potentially daunting prospects that we can assist with.
Our employment team provide a range of services, from HR consultancy, to advising on any employment-related service, whatever the size of the businesses and associated workforce.
Our intellectual property (IP) team advise a range of both businesses and individuals in all elements of managing, protecting and exploiting the IP they have developed. They understand that a new idea or product needs to be protected, and a range of experience from new inventions and designs to artistic and musical work. We can conduct IP audits for any size business and, should you feel that your IP has been infringed, we are able to enforce the through negotiation, agreement or, in the most extreme cases, court proceedings.
If you’re a tenant at a science park, and we do not act for that science park, or are looking to graduate from a science park to another commercial premises, we are able to provide property advice for a range of scenarios.
Previously, our team have assisted with leasing of additional commercial premises when a company grows and requires more space, licences for alterations so that the internal layout suits the company purpose and the assignment of an existing lease to another group company.
If you are an established or prospective science park tenant and would like to discuss further, please email our science park team firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will give you a call back free-of-charge and without obligation..
How else can we assist?
As well as providing legal advice and commercially viable, practical solutions, there are additional ways in which the science park team assist our sector clients. We appreciate the value in a changing digital world the need for our client’s to reliable digital services as well face-to-face networking.
UK Science Park Association
Our science park team have been business affiliates of the UK Science Park Association since 1993. As active members, we regularly meet with our client’s at conferences and other events to discuss the sector movement, challenges and new opportunities that are faced across the broader sector.
This membership has provided us with a unique opportunity to better understand the changes to the sector to help us find commercially viable solutions for our clients.
Technology supporting our team
We support our science and technology park clients through leading edge software that’s developed and managed internally within Wright Hassall using bespoke case management systems to help us generate the leases and other legal documents you may need.
These systems also help us to track and progress matters promptly, so you can move tenants into your buildings rapidly and securely, and from Q2 2017 we will be generating automated reporting so you can see, updated daily, the stage any new lease, renewal or relocation has reached, all without any intervention on our part.
We also provide on-line access to management copies of your leases and other property paperwork via secure web portals driven by HighQ’s leading server systems, ensuring that you have 24x7 access to your property paperwork – indeed, you will usually have access to completed leases the same working day – often within minutes of actual completions taking place.
From our offices in Leamington Spa, we also operate using multiple internet connections, and live back-up systems to ensure that whatever problem might arise, we still there for all our clients, and even have our own on-site standby generator …
Never fear that this is, however, technology-gone-mad: our team are to hand on the phone – or Facetime or Skype if you prefer – for person-to-person queries and assistance during office hours and outside those hours by appointment, or in emergency.