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Spotlight on… James Simpson

26th June 2024

Photo of James Simpson

This month we are shining the spotlight on James Simpson, Partner and Head of the National Development team at HCR Law.

1. What type of legal advice do you provide?

I am an experienced transactional real estate lawyer and also the Head of Development. I specialise in residential land development and strategic land, representing landowners, developers and land promoters. I have a particular expertise in complex promotion agreements, joint ventures and collaboration arrangements.

2. Why did you choose your specialism?

During my training contract, my seat in the Real Estate department quickly became my favourite, making it an easy decision to choose this as my specialism. The path to becoming a specialist in residential development and strategic land stemmed from the dynamic and diverse nature of those areas. Each transaction is unique, presenting distinct challenges and opportunities. I work closely with a variety of stakeholders, addressing complex legal issues and engaging in commercial negotiations. This field is particularly fulfilling as it plays a crucial role in shaping communities.

3. What type of work does your team do that is relevant to Homes England? Or have you been involved in any Homes England projects?

As the government’s housing and regeneration agency Homes England’s aims are to deliver homes and places and support regeneration and our team has particular experience of such projects including site assembly, site acquisitions and disposals , joint ventures, collaborations and promotion and option agreements. I am personally often involved in large multi-owned and multi-phased development sites including urban extensions on behalf of landowners or developers including transactions involving Homes England.

4. What was your most memorable outcome for a client? And why?

I act for Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP), which is a joint venture between Cambridge City Council and a well-known developer. The Partnership was established in 2017 to address the housing shortage across the Cambridge City region by providing high quality, new Council Homes and market sale homes, as well as commercial and community facilities. CIP is investing in and transforming council-owned property and other local land by blending public sector and private sector expertise to deliver high quality sustainable homes which are designed for the future and meet or exceed local sustainability policies. We have supported CIP in delivering various regeneration schemes, including the regeneration of a former Council depot site and also a former well known builder’s merchant site (providing in excess of 250 homes on each site) all of which have had and will have a huge impact helping to house local people.

5. How have you supported your local community?

We are quite lucky in our line of work that there are quite of number of opportunities to engage with and support our local community whether via work for local clients, support on particular local projects or via fund raising initiatives. For example in our Cambridge office we run the “Chariots of Fire “ event which has grown to be the region’s largest charitable relay race and which has raised circa £1.5 million for local charities since its inception in 1992.

6. Why do you think a commitment to helping the planet is important? And can you give any examples where you have made a change to help the planet?

Ensuring the health of our ecosystems and promoting renewable energy sources and protecting natural habitats and species means a healthier planet and better health outcomes for human and other animals and will ensure future generations inherit a planet capable of supporting life and human activity. From an industry perspective, the development world has many commitments and regulations in place to support such initiatives such as use of sustainable materials, green buildings, smart technologies, renewable energy initiatives and Biodiversity net gain etc many of which we advise on. On a personal level myself and my family try and do our bit by way of reduction in driving, recycling and use of sustainable materials

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