Claire has been advising both commercial and residential developers on all aspects of property development for nearly 20 years. For the last 12 years Claire has focused particularly on residential development acting primarily for both commercial house builders and Registered Providers of affordable housing.

Claire’s experience includes site assembly, acquisition and disposal of both instant and strategic development sites, advising on variable and fixed price option agreements, conditional and unconditional contracts, complex overage arrangements, development, promotion and collaboration agreements.

Experience

  • the leasehold acquisition of a landmark building to be developed as a Private Rent Scheme which involved a highly bespoke section 106 agreement; conditional agreement for building lease, building lease with full development obligations, tripartite conditional agreement for surrender and deed of surrender and parent company guarantee.
  • multi- site transaction involving the relocation of a town centre bus station to a purpose-built new facility on the other side of town, highly complex multi- party site assembly arrangements and the subsequent residential development of the former bus station site.
  • an overarching project delivery agreement between a housing association and a council relating to the identification and assessment and subsequent development of several sites to provide dwellings specifically designed for wheelchair users.
  • acquisition of the affordable housing units required by a developer’s section 106 agreement on a residential development scheme which involved complex site assembly aspects and the variation of existing overage arrangements and which facilitated the high profile reinstatement of a local canal
  • in the last 12 months has advised on / is currently advising on the acquisition (often on a conditional to planning basis) of circa 550 section 106 affordable housing units from one particular volume housebuilder across 10 different sites at an aggregate price of circa £60 million.

Social housing

Experience

  • advised on the drafting negotiation and completion of an overarching project delivery agreement to be entered into between a housing association and a council relating to the identification and assessment and subsequent development of several sites to provide 20 dwelling specifically designed for wheelchair users.
  • advised on the acquisition of section 106 affordable housing units from a volume housebuilder across 5 different sites.
  • advised a housing association on the acquisition of a landmark building to be developed as a Private Rent Scheme which involved development services agreement with development partner, highly bespoke section 106 agreement, conditional agreement for building lease which also incorporated provision for collateral warranties, conditional agreement for surrender with existing occupational tenant, tripartite deed of surrender with the housing association, freeholder and existing occupational tenant all being party, overage agreement with existing occupational tenant and parent company guarantee
  • advised on the acquisition of land to be developed for the 14 affordable units required by a developer’s section 106 agreement on a residential development scheme, which facilitated the reinstatement of a local canal.

Before Claire joined Wright Hassall she worked as part of the in house legal teams for two major volume house builders. This experience taught Claire, amongst other things, the need to understand the wider business context of the transactions with which she is involved and also the commercial drivers/ pressures influencing her clients.

While working “in house” Claire was also a consumer of external legal services – both good and bad! Claire is acutely aware of her experience as a consumer of legal services and she strives to provide her clients with legal advice that is clear, concise, practical and commercially informed. Claire doesn’t just spot problems and issues but tries to find solutions to them which will enable a transaction to proceed.

Claire comments that “I really enjoy the transactional nature of the work I do. I like the fact that each party to the transaction gets what they want, whether that is the disposal/acquisition of a site, the redevelopment of an existing asset, a new development or the profit from the development process- everyone's a winner! I also like the fact that there is something tangible to see at the end of the process whether that’s a new commercial building or a residential development.”

Career

Claire has a degree in Law with French from the University of Leicester and attended the College of Law in York.  She qualified in 1997 at City firm Cameron McKenna where she worked until she joined Wragge & Co in Birmingham in 1999.  In 2004 Claire joined David Wilson Homes Limited as a Divisional Solicitor. She moved to Wright Hassall in January 2008 from Bovis Homes Limited where she was Legal Director in the South West Region. Claire became a partner in 2012.

Interests

Claire enjoys running (slowly!), skiing and cinema.