From start-up to listed company – side by side with Countryside Properties and the Cherry family
We first acted for family-owned Countryside Properties in 1967. Alan Cherry, then a partner at Bairstow Eves, wanted advice to set up a development company. Our private client practice has advised the company’s owners, the Cherry family, for some 35 years. This advice spans handling changes of wealth from one generation to another.
Public to private and back again
For Countryside, we have acted on a number of major projects to date. These include its listing in 1972 on the London Stock Exchange. Then there was the take private in 2004, a 50:50 joint venture with the Bank of Scotland (later bought by Lloyds TSB). This was followed by a reconstruction in 2009 when control switched to the Bank of Scotland followed by the private equity-backed buyout. We were on board, too, when Countryside returned to the stock market for a record value of more than £1 billion, as well as when it transitioned from ownership in the unlisted Luxembourg holding company to a UK plc.
Our relationship with Charles Russell Speechlys goes back many years, spanning each of the defining steps in our corporate history. The team is able to deploy experts across the full range of disciplines required for the deal. Their commercially based advice, strong sense of commitment to us and to the achievement of the transaction made them once again much valued members of our team.
Day to day
In between these types of transactions, we act on a large number of housebuilding projects. Springhead Park Development in Ebbsfleet, Kent, is one such project. Here, we advised on a joint venture with Clarion Housing Group to build 2,600 homes as part of the Ebbsfleet Garden City programme. The full programme provides 6,000 new homes, including build-to-rent properties. The site includes more than £3 million of bridges, walkways and cycle paths to connect to local rail routes, and this involves complex estate management issues.
Other projects include an award-winning development at Chatham Maritime, a joint venture regeneration project on the Greenwich Peninsular, and two areas of regeneration in Canning Town.
We’ve worked side by side with Countryside for three generations, looking after its transfer from Alan Cherry to Graham Cherry to Richard Cherry. And they have chosen to keep us on board every step of the way, on both the family and the commercial sides.