Shulmans solicitors in Leeds is celebrating the completion of the longest-running case in the history of the firm.
The company has been working with the Holy Trinity Church and the Holy Trinity Church Repair Fund on Boar Lane for 14 years on legal and commercial issues arising from the Trinity Shopping Centre.
The work originally related to a Compulsory Purchase Order made on land owned by the Church by the developers of the shopping centre, which is just a few feet away from the historic Church building which dates back to 1727.
The work necessitated the negotiation of a Compromise Agreement for the setting of compensation for the Church for the loss of their lights and land, together with an Oversailing Agreement allowing cranes to utilise the Church’s airspace, an Enabling Deed, and Party Walls Awards regarding the impact of development on the Church itself.
The Compromise Agreement changed many times during the 14 years as it had to marry up with the planning conditions and the changing priorities and objectives of the Church.
The Church admits that the shopping centre has been a catalyst for its regeneration, and that it is benefitting from the passing footfall of 12,000 people a week.
The Church is home to the popular, recently refurbished Nurture Cafe from St George’s Crypt, the newly launched Trinity Club Leeds and also arts@trinity, a social enterprise which builds relationships with arts organisations.
It sees the church have a regular artist in residence and allows the church to be used as a venue for performances – with exhibitions already booked in for the remainder of 2014.
Some of the money obtained was used to assist these diversifications.
Ann Nicholl, Lay Minister at Holy Trinity Church, said:
“As part of the building work, we had hoardings up around us for several months.
“We pretty much disappeared! We used this time to renovate the Church – we moved the entrance and we took out most of the pews to open up the space which means it can be used for a variety of purposes, as well as for regular worship.
“We now have art displays and regular musical and acting performances, and the space means the artists can be very innovative.
“Simon Jackson at Shulmans has been extremely supportive over the years in helping us to negotiate with the owners of the Trinity Centre, so that we could be sure the Church wasn’t going to suffer.
“He deserves a medal for his perseverance with all the changing requirements and objectives, but he understood how important it was to get it right!
“The Church has been here for almost 300 years, and actually the Trinity Centre and the changes we have made as a consequence mean it is going from strength to strength.”
Simon Jackson, head of the commercial property team at Shulmans, who has dealt with the case almost singlehandedly across the entire 14 year period, said:
“It’s definitely the longest case I’ve ever worked on! It is a pleasure to see Holy Trinity thriving, and once again becoming such a central part of the city centre community.
“We undertook the initial work on a pro bono basis, but Land Securities has been generous with its funding of the Church’s legal work to ensure Holy Trinity was happy with the final agreement.
“I was very much of the mind that as the Church’s name was being used for the Centre, they should benefit from the development, which they have done financially, from the significant compensation we were able to negotiate, and also the physical benefits.
“Many people comment on how they can see the spire of the Church through the roof of the Trinity Centre, and in fact it’s helping to encourage people to investigate the Church which shares its name.
“I would also like to thank Val Jones at Wrigleys who has offered very professional help throughout on the Ecclesiastical side of things.”