Penny Elliott - Spear's Magazine

Penny Elliott


Penny Elliott
The Spear’s Indices
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Elliott, a lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience, is commercially astute and also, as one peer mentions, a ‘creative lawyer at the top of her game’. She describes 2015 as extremely busy with significant transactions: ‘There have been very few and we were involved in the largest: acquisition from the Crown Estate.’

Elliott, who is known for acting for international investors and five-star and boutique hotels, looks forward to advising on the Church Commissioners panel, who are large institutional landowners with an investment fund of £6.7 billion.

With the commodity price drop having a knock-on effect on rural land prices, she is advising one client, who has recently acquired a farm located close to an airport, to look beyond farming returns. ‘The opportunities, now that they’ve got the farm back in hand, are really around commercial exploitation rather than the farming of it,’ she says, explaining how expanding airports usually need more land, leading to profitable projects in return.

Looking after a family estate used to be a difficult affair for heirs, but Elliott now sees a
more entrepreneurial generation. ‘In my experience, for previous generations, often the way out for a house that is just so large that you can’t afford to support it from its agricultural estate is to give it to a charity or to the National Trust. Whereas, actually, there is an enormous appetite for making these houses viable as proper family homes,’ she says.