A PROPERTY business founded in Bournemouth 35 years ago has merged with one of the biggest independents in the sector.

Chartered surveyors Cowling & West will become part of the south coast operation of Vail Williams.

Cowling & West is a three-partner team specialising in property valuation, office and industrial acquisition and disposal, mainly in Dorset.

Its clients in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area include Ilchester Estates, McCarthy & Stone, Hoburne, Aster Group and Glenbeigh Developments.

Matthew Samuel-Camps, managing partner at Vail Williams, said: “The merger with Cowling & West provides a natural opportunity to extend our geographical reach to the west of our south coast region, which will enhance our ability to service both existing and new clients there.”

Vail Williams already acts for clients in the BCP area from its offices in Portsmouth and Southampton, marketing buildings and developments including Grange Road Business Park in Christchurch on behalf of BAE Systems, Waverley House in Bournemouth and County Gates House in Poole.

Its expansion into Bournemouth comes a year after its acquisition of UK-wide corporate property advisory firm Trilogie CRE and three years on from its merger with Hughes Ellard, which created the largest office agency team in the Solent.

The deal will see the addition to its team of Cowling & West founding partners David Cowling and Simon West, partner Simon Tubbs and three support staff.

Mr Cowling, who has lived in Bournemouth for most of his working life, is an experienced development, investment and corporate property adviser.

Mr West, a past president and current council member of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is a corporate property adviser focusing on general agency, development and investment work.

Simon Tubbs provides property valuation expertise, together with advice on landlord and tenant issues, and regularly acts as an expert witness in property disputes.

Mr Cowling said: “After spending 35 years developing Cowling & West, we are excited to be embarking on the next stage of our careers with Vail Williams – a firm which represents the right fit both for us and our clients.

“We are pleased to be able to offer our clients the additional benefits that operating as part of Vail Williams will bring, including a much wider range of property services that we will be able to draw on, from business rates advice and building consultancy, to planning expertise.”

Mr Samuel-Camps said: “We have known David and both Simons for many years and knew the firm would be a good cultural fit with Vail Williams. Our joint expertise will benefit clients across the region, and beyond, whilst allowing us to bring on board a team which fits both our high client service standards, and our core values – something which is incredibly important for us to retain as we continue to grow.”

The newly merged firm will be based at Cowling & West’s current offices in the short term, with eyes set on expansion over the next three years.

The office will be led by Vail Williams partner Russell Miller. Gary Jeffries will continue in his role as regional managing partner of the firm’s newly south coast region.

The deal brings Vail Williams’ staff to 154 across nine offices.