Links, Herbies fight off listing to smooth UBS move to City

Linklaters and Herbert Smith successfully fought UBS and British Land’s ­battle against an attempt to grant listed status to the Broadgate Estate, which threatened to scupper the bank’s plans for a move to the City site.

British Land intends to redevelop part of the 1980s complex to make way for the Swiss bank’s new £340m European headquarters, set to hold between 6,000 and 7,000 staff.

English Heritage put in a request to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to make Broadgate a Grade II* listed site, putting it one category behind the British Museum and the Royal Albert Hall.

Hunt rejected the plea, telling English Heritage in a letter from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that Broadgate was architecturally “impressive” but “not to the extent that it meets the high bar of ­outstanding quality”.

English Heritage had claimed the complex represents some of the best architecture – in the form of both buildings and open space – of its type and period. British Land argued that there was no basis for listing it as it was less than 30 years old. It is still waiting for the result of its plea for a five-year immunity from listing.

Real estate partner Patrick Robinson led the Herbert Smith team acting for British Land, assisted by associate Elizabeth Christie. Although the client relies on a number of firms for real estate and planning matters, including Ashurst and SJ Berwin, ­Herbert Smith won the ­mandate through Robinson’s relationship with the ­company and background in the matter, without the need for a ­beauty parade.

Robinson has advised on the Broadgate complex since its early days, ­including acting for British Land on the 201 Bishopsgate development.

Linklaters planning ­partner David Watkins acted for UBS. Watkins has also acted for British Land in the past, including on the Leadenhall Building, known as The Cheesegrater.

UBS is a longstanding client of the magic circle firm, which the bank instructed for the building’s development and pre-let last year.

English Heritage is understood to have been advised in-house by legal director Michael Harlow.