The Legal Services Property, Planning and Compulsory Purchase team

The Legal Services Property, Planning and Compulsory Purchase team provide legal advice on any property and land related matters.

Who are the Legal Services Property, Planning and CPO Team?

The Legal Services Property, Planning and Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) team sits within the wider Legal Governance and Compliance Team at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The Legal Services Property, Planning and Compulsory Purchase team (Legal Property) is here to:

  • Provide legal advice on any property and land related matters.
  • We primarily specialise in freehold work and landlord and tenant work.
  • We negotiate, draft and interpret property and legal documentation, this includes (but is not limited to) leases, licences (including licences to alter) and transfers.
  • The legal property team undertakes:
    • All of the legal property work in relation to the Combined Authority’s bus stations (work related to title and ownership of the bus stations; projects taking place at the bus stations; and landlord and tenant work (including the granting of leases) in relation to commercial units at bus stations);
    • Property legal advice on Combined Authority programmes, projects and schemes (including Delivery programmes, projects and schemes, the MRT project and the Bus Reform project). Where the key subject matter is not Combined Authority owned bus stations but where the programmes, projects and schemes have property/land elements the legal property advice is either provided in-house by our legal property team or procured from an external law firm. In the latter situation the in-house legal property team carries out the intelligent client role in relation to the property law elements of the matter(s);
    • Work in relation to the Land Registry such as registration, adverse possession, objections and property searches.
  • In addition, the legal property team is here to assist on the property and land elements of reports such as for the Leadership Team.

There is always support on hand from colleagues to ensure I can learn and develop

Oliver Legal Officer in the Property, Planning and CPO team

We asked Colleagues in our Legal Services Property, Planning and CPO Team to share their thoughts on working for the Combined Authority.

Here is what Sue (Lawyer) & Oliver (Legal Officer) told us:

Can you explain your current role and responsibilities?

I am involved in a wide breadth of work involving land and property matters. I assist internal colleagues on projects requiring advice and input including, amongst other matters, title restrictions, land charges and overage. I also deal with land acquisitions, property due diligence and planning documentation (such as s38 agreements).

As a Legal Officer I provide support to the Principal Lawyer/Lawyers in the Property, Planning and CPO legal team, and also run my own caseload on a variety of matters. I predominantly deal with Landlord & Tenant matters, Transport Infrastructure Projects and Asset disposals.

What do you enjoy most about working here and what makes the Combined Authority unique?

The range of work that I am exposed to keeps my work life very interesting. No two days are the same and I have gained a lot of experience in my time working at the Combined Authority.

The Combined Authority plays a key role in a wide range of transport schemes, new infrastructure, and regeneration projects. As such, the type of work I am exposed to is extremely varied and interesting, much more so than anything I have experienced in private practice. In the past week, I have attended meetings with our project team and appointed contractor regarding an asset maintenance project, provided Landlord & Tenant advice in respect of two planned bus station redevelopments, attended a site visit and meeting with a partner Local Authority in respect of an asset disposal, drafted Heads of Terms for a new retail lease for a national company, agreed the final terms of an oversailing licence, and drafted a lease renewal. In addition to the varied work, I take pride by being directly involved in a number of schemes and projects that will shape and improve the lives of thousands of people in West Yorkshire for generations to come, such as Mass Transit.

Can you share a memorable experience or project that highlights your team dynamics and collaboration?

As a lot of my work involves projects, such as the redevelopment of bus stations, I work collaboratively with colleagues across many different departments. This allows for the opportunity to meet new people and experience different working styles. It also means I am embedded as part of a team which allows for a supportive environment and a forum to share ideas.

For me personally I really enjoy being involved in our Transport Infrastructure Projects whether it’s a maintenance programme, a regeneration scheme or construction of a new bus station. For someone with an interest in engineering but no technical knowledge, its fascinating to be working closely with our appointed contractors and learning the intricate details of how things work. From a legal point of view, it’s fun being presented with a vision and collaborating with the project team to advise on and shape their delivery programme. There are so many different considerations from planning matters, work licences, working with our Assets team to manage the Combined Authority’s tenant relationships, and working with the Transport Operations team to ensure that bus services can continue to operate and provide a crucial service to the people of West Yorkshire.

How does the company support employee growth, both professionally and personally?

The Combined Authority welcomes colleagues seeking training opportunities whether that be from internal or external sources. I am happy that my professional development is supported at the Combined Authority via the availability of training resources and the flexible working which makes attendance at training possible.

During my time at the Combined Authority I have been exposed to new areas of legal work which I have never experienced before, but there is always support on hand from colleagues to ensure I can learn and develop. I feel I can speak with senior colleagues in the legal team and wider organisation for any assistance I may need. The Combined Authority actively looks to support colleagues through learning and development, and I have recently joined the ‘Talent Pathway’ to study towards the CILEX Lawyer qualification.

What benefits does the Combined Authority have that you enjoy?

The flexible working at the Combined Authority has transformed my work life balance. The difference compared to my previous work in private practice is immeasurable. I enjoy job satisfaction whilst having the time and opportunity to enjoy my home life. The annual travel pass is an excellent work benefit. As is the annual leave allowance and ability to accrue additional flexi-days.

The Combined Authority allows hybrid working which means I can split my time working remotely, in the office or on-site of one of our infrastructure projects. All colleagues also receive a free travel MCard for travel in zones 1-5 of West Yorkshire. As I live outside of West Yorkshire, both the hybrid work option and free travel MCard are fantastic and it wouldn’t have been feasible for me to work for the Combined Authority without these progressive benefits.

How does the Combined Authority maintain a healthy work-life balance for its employees?

We are encouraged by senior management to remain mindful of a balanced work/life. This messaging is supported by the flexible working via which you can manage your working hours.

The Combined Authority encourages flexible and hybrid working which is really important for me personally. Its great knowing that if something crops up from a doctors appointment, car MOTs or even needing to finish early for a social occasion, that I’m free to do so. The Combined Authority also encourages staff to get active, to finish on time, take sufficient breaks, and also provides various support structures.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career at the Combined Authority?

Do not hesitate to apply for a role within the Combined Authority. Take the opportunity to meet the team and have a discussion about the benefits of working at the Combined Authority in order to make an informed decision.

The Combined Authority is a fantastic place to start/continue your career: from varied and exciting work, flexible/hybrid options, career progression, great benefits, a healthy work-life balance actively encouraged, and friendly colleagues at all levels. I would actively encourage anyone to consider applying and joining the team.

The flexible working at the Combined Authority has transformed my work life balance

Sue Property, Planning and CPO Lawyer

Property, Planning and Compulsory Purchase Vacancies

More stories from staff at WYCA

Read more employee testimonials from some of our colleagues in other teams across the Combined Authority and find out more about working life by visiting the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Vercida platform and the Life at WYCA page.