Womble Bond Dickinson has advised NHS Property Services, the government-owned company that helps the NHS get the most from its estate, and the appointed agents of The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on a property deal that saw Queen Mary University of London acquire a major stake in the Whitechapel Life Sciences development.

The acquisition paves the way for the development of a state-of-the-art life sciences centre and supports the Department of Health and Social Care's (DHSC) plans for a Whitechapel Life Sciences Cluster. The scheme will help deliver a long-held local vision to establish east London as a major centre of excellence in life sciences, creating high-quality jobs and skills programmes, and attracting industry investment from start-ups to multi-national corporations. NHS Property Services is leading on the project for DHSC, involving a planning application and transaction management for the whole Cluster.

The WBD team advising NHS Property Services was led, on the real estate side, by London partner Martin Stacey, assisted by associate Emily Gascoyne-Richards and solicitor Casandra Dimala, and on the planning side by partner Claire Brook and legal director Jocelyn Denton. WBD has a longstanding relationship advising NHS Property Services on a range of issues, including the successful 2019 Supreme Court win on a village green case which had wide implications for land held for statutory purposes by public authorities.

Martin Stacey, real estate partner at WBD commented: 

"Successfully delivering this important key initial transaction is yet another example of our strong credentials in dealing with major development projects for both public sector and private sector developers, applying our skillsets in drafting and negotiating complex and bespoke development agreements and related documents including planning collaboration agreements and overall planning strategy. We are delighted to have been able to play a key role in assisting NHS Property Services in this landmark development to create the Whitechapel Life Sciences Cluster, establishing east London as a major centre for the life sciences, dedicated to the advancement of world-leading research and education."

Adrian Powell, Development and Planning Director at NHS Property Services said: 

“We are delighted to be working on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care to deliver this landmark life sciences enabled development at Whitechapel. Today’s announcement that Queen Mary University has acquired part of the site from our partners is consistent with that vision and we are excited to see their plans play out.

"We hope that the wider site redevelopment will not only provide regeneration and aid local growth, it will also put Whitechapel at the very heart of health innovation and drive better health outcomes for the community.”

WBD works closely with UK Local and Central Government authorities, as well as other organisations in the wider public and third sector. The firm advises the UK Government Legal Department, providing a full-service of legal expertise across a range of disciplines, including general commercial, litigation and employment advice. WBD was appointed in Spring 2017 as a Tier 1 firm on the Crown Commercial Service Framework (CCS) for Central Government Departments, Agencies and Arms’ Length Bodies; the firm was also appointed to the CCS Framework for the wider public sector in the Autumn 2018. The firm also sits on the legal panel for the NHS Shared Business Services.