Quentin Smye Director

Speaks:  English

Primary office:  Birmingham

Quentin Smye

Quentin Smye is highly experienced in all aspects of residential development, but has a particular focus on strategic land work. With the need for housing continuing to expand, house builders and other investors in residential real estate are thinking long-term to ensure an ongoing supply of development land.

Quentin ensures that his clients can secure land which has the potential to fulfil future housing needs by putting in place robust agreements with landowners, including options and promotion agreements, and working closely alongside all parties involved. He also advises on more "instant" acquisitions, disposals and other development transactions.

A slick, efficient service can be crucial to any deal and Quentin aims to get his clients to exchange as soon as they practically can, maintaining a commercially sensible approach that means the process isn't unnecessarily held up at the negotiation stage.

With a wide-ranging experience of not only residential but also commercial development work, Quentin is ideally placed to bring clients a fresh and overarching perspective that helps to realise their objectives.

Residential real estate development is a very specialised and intellectually interesting field – once you get into it, you tend to stick with it! I like to think that I have the confidence and experience to be able to see the middle ground from the start of a transaction, rather than trying to make the documentation biased from the start and getting stuck in months of negotiation.

Often the most effective deals are those where you are working closely alongside the landowner and their solicitors, getting our developer clients to the end point that they need effectively and efficiently by having an appreciation of the concerns of all involved and making suggestions that appeal to all sides. At the end of the day, if you can make the right deal and planning permission can be obtained then everyone will benefit.

The number of our house builder clients has become smaller over the last few years – they've had to consolidate and are often under pressure to secure as much land as they can as quickly as they can to meet the requirements of their build programmes. I believe they appreciate lawyers that aren't going to be heavy handed and take issue with tiny points, but are just as focused on their objective as they are.

Having a commercial development background rather than purely residential has also been useful. It means that, particularly for mixed-use schemes, I know what the priorities are going to be and can offer a wider perspective.


Residential developers, specialist land traders, national house builders


Advising on the purchase of one of the last large greenfield development sites for 800+ units at Didcot for joint venture developer clients, including acquiring land from another developer and ancillary agreements, and the site's ongoing development.

Working with a national house builder on all aspects of the HCA's HomeBuy Direct and Kickstart initiatives (and the co-ordination of related plot sales).

Advising on the promotion/option agreements for various national house builders including a recent scheme relating to about 1000 acres.

Acting on the sale of surplus residential land for a major industrial developer client.

Putting in place collaboration agreements between top ten national house builders to allow a co-ordinated approach to planning and development.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2016

    • Career
      Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, director
  • 2014

    • Career
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, director
  • 1989

    • Career
      Wragge & Co LLP
  • 1987

    • Career
  • 1983

    • Education
      University of Birmingham, LLB