New planning partner joins Mills & Reeve as part of its Manchester real estate team

Mills & Reeve appoint Melanie Grimshaw as planning partner to support the firm’s national planning practice and its burgeoning Manchester real estate team.

Previously at Pinsent Masons, Melanie specialises in all aspects of development planning, highways and compulsory purchase. Melanie also advises promoters and those affected by nationally significant infrastructure projects, particularly in the transport and energy sectors.

Melanie brings a broad range of expertise to the firm, formerly acting on some of the UK’s major regeneration schemes, providing strategic legal advice on a range of development proposals and also advising on contentious planning matters. Her work includes advising on managing public consultation and objections, reviewing environmental impact assessments and advising on judicial review. This expertise will provide a great boost for Mills & Reeve’s national planning offering.

In spite of the current economic uncertainty, a number of Mills & Reeve’s clients have long-term strategic ambitions and its broad range of clients across various sectors mean it holds a strong market position. The recognition of the housing crisis and the significant need for more housing has cross-party support, as does continued investment out of London - particularly in the North.

Melanie will be working with planning partners Peter Seaborn and Beverley Firth, and joining two other former Pinsents real estate partners – Mike Edge and Rachel Pitman – who came over to Mills & Reeve in January 2018 in a much-publicised move. In a sign of its growing reputation, the real estate team in Manchester rose two tiers in leading legal directory The Legal 500 in just one year; Melanie has been described consistently as "excellent" and "brilliant" in The Legal 500 herself. She was also ranked as a Next Generation Lawyer in 2018 and as a Rising Star in 2019.

Peter Seaborn, head of planning at Mills & Reeve, said: “We are delighted that Melanie is joining us to help reinforce and develop our national planning brand. Her qualities and experience will be a great fit for our team and clients.”

Mike Edge, head of real estate in Manchester, said: “We are really looking forward to working with Melanie again. The nature of our planning work is directed substantially at large scale logistics projects, residential, offices and mixed use schemes and Mel will greatly enhance our overall real estate offering in Manchester.

“Melanie is amongst the best in her field and she excels in client service and development. She will be joining a planning practice with national recognition particularly in strategic land and large scale residential development. This is a great opportunity for both of us to build the planning team at Mills & Reeve, both nationally and in the North West.”

Niall Innes, partner and head of the Manchester office, said: “We have a strong ambition to continue to build our reputation in Manchester so Melanie’s arrival will help provide our clients with top level planning support and further the growth of the wider real estate team.

“We are very happy to welcome Melanie to the firm and believe she will make a real impact.”

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