Ward Hadaway’s affordable housing team has announced new leadership and the appointment of two new partners, an associate, two solicitors and an affordable housing conveyancer, highlighting the firm’s continued growth and commitment to the sector.

Last year, the team, which is part of the broader built environment group at the firm, posted growth of over 65% over the last two years, and has seen its client base more than double in the last three years.

Kelly Pearson has joined as a Partner in the affordable housing team. She specialises in property, development and regeneration projects and brings over 17 years’ experience of working with some of the largest housing providers in the UK.

Based at the firm’s Newcastle office, Kelly is recognised in the Legal 500 as a next generation partner and advises on all aspects of property development for affordable housing schemes.

Kelly will work alongside Partner, Jen Robinson, who is based in the firm’s Leeds office, providing these services on both a regional and national basis as they consolidate and build upon the continued success of the team.

Commenting on her appointment, Kelly said: “Joining Ward Hadaway is a great opportunity to make a meaningful difference within the affordable housing sector. I’m pleased to be part of such a well-regarded and dedicated team that not only values professional growth but also invests in understanding and meeting the unique needs of our clients’ communities.”

Also joining Kelly in the Newcastle office is Marie-Louise O’Hanrahan who has been appointed as an Associate. Perri Byrne has joined as a Solicitor and Jamie-Lee Nixon has been appointed as an Affordable Housing Conveyancer.

In addition, Stuart Whitehead has been appointed as a Partner within the housing management team in Manchester. He will join a team now comprising 17 specialists to advise clients on all aspects of housing management matters. He brings over 30 years’ experience, having worked both in-house for a large provider of affordable housing and in private practice. He has a wealth of experience in representing housing associations and local authorities in all areas including housing possession and disrepair claims, anti-social behaviour injunctions and breaches of tenancy.

Stuart said: “Ward Hadaway is a UK Top 100 firm with an excellent affordable housing practice and I’m delighted to be joining such a great team. I am looking forward to working with the firm’s existing clients and growing this offer across the North West region. This is an exciting role for me as we look to further develop our housing management offer to new and existing clients.”

Also in the firm’s Leeds office, Richard Hey has joined the team as a Solicitor, specifically to assist in dealing with housing conditions claims.

Coinciding with these new appointments, Ward Hadaway has restructured its affordable housing leadership team and appointed Partner Simon Thirtle as the firm’s Head of Affordable Housing. He now has responsibility for leading the multi-disciplinary team across all three regions.

Simon, who will continue to head up the housing management team, is ideally placed to lead the firm in its ambitions of being a market leader in the sector.

He commented: “I’m delighted to welcome these new appointments to the team which is testament to our ambition and reinforces our commitment and position as a leader within this sector. It’s an exciting time for the firm.

“We have continued to make a number of strategic changes and appointments to our affordable housing team across all of our offices to support our ambitious growth plans and enhance our service delivery to the housing providers with whom we work nationally.

“We pride ourselves on the strength and longevity of our client relationships and the quality of our services through working together as one team. Our new team members all bring additional experience and strength in depth to our offer.”

Ward Hadaway’s affordable housing team is considered one of the largest, most-established legal teams working in the sector in the North. The firm operates its affordable housing offering across all three of its offices in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle – providing a full-service solution on a regional and national basis to the firm’s registered provider clients, local authorities and other sector partners.