The Crown Estate has halved its rural and coastal portfolio and Windsor Estate legal panel from four to two, re-appointing Burges Salmon and Bond Dickinson but not Clarke Willmott or Thomas Eggar, the sovereign property portfolio announced today (1 April 2014).
Both re-appointed firms have been instructed for five years from April 2014 by the estate, which manages a diverse property business valued at more £8.6bn, at which time a further review of requirements will be planned.
Burges Salmon will take responsibility for representing The Crown Estate across its rural assets, which together form one of the largest portfolios of agricultural, forestry and common land in the UK. The firm will also take responsibility for The Crown Estate’s Windsor Estate which includes Windsor Great Park, forests, residential and commercial properties, golf courses, a racecourse and tenanted agricultural land.
Bond Dickinson will represent The Crown Estate across its coastal holdings in England, which includes around fifty per cent of the foreshore and interests in ports, harbours, marinas and other commercial coastal developments.
Vivienne King, The Crown Estate’s director of business operations and general counsel said: ‘Both Burges Salmon and Bond Dickinson are business partners which have consistently provided us with an excellent legal service throughout our relationship, so we are delighted to be continuing to work with them following the outcome of our competitive tender process. Both firm’s sector specific expertise and understanding of our business will be a real asset as we continue to deliver on our long term commercial objectives.’
William Neville, who will act as the lead partner at Burges Salmon said: ‘We are very pleased to be appointed to provide advice on these important portfolios in the food, farming and land sector. Sian Edmunds, who joins the partnership on 1 May, and partner Alastair Morrison will lead our team of experts drawn from across the firm and will work closely with The Crown Estate’s managing agents at Knight Frank, Carter Jonas and Smiths Gore.’
Burges Salmon has a close relationship with the organisation, having been reappointed to its urban panel in 2011 as well as winning a spot on the rural panel in 2007.
Associate Matthew Sims led the firm’s mandate advising on the £31m sale of the group’s Honda depot in January 2014.
Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) and Bond Dickinson were reappointed to The Crown Estate’s energy and infrastructure panel last July, cutting the body’s previous specialist panel from five to two in a move to consolidate ‘legal advice across an extremely diverse portfolio,’ according to The Crown Estate.
NRF, which was one of only two firms appointed to the Crown Estate’s first energy panel in 2008, advises on its activities in offshore wind, carbon capture, wave energy, natural gas storage and emerging technologies such as biomass, while Bond Dickinson advises on the estate’s marine aggregates business and its interest in transmission and pipelines, with chairman Nick Page acting as relationship partner to the client.
The estate, whose objectives are to maintain and enhance the value of the sovereign estate as laid down by parliament under The Crown Estate Act 1961, pays its profit to the Treasury each year: in 2012/13 this was £252.6m. Over the past ten years The Crown Estate has paid over £2bn to the Treasury.