A historic flour mill will be transformed into 60 apartments after being snapped up by a real estate developer.

The abandoned HS Pledge and Sons factory at the bottom of East Hill in Ashford is best known to residents as it is home to several old nightclubs, most recently Liquid and Envy.

The iconic building has been empty since 2014

Ashford School took over the unclassified building in 2011, but KentOnline revealed last January how the private school wanted to free the site from its domain.

He has now sold the historic building to 34-year-old developer Oliver Davis after two years of negotiations.

His company – Oliver Davis Homes – specializes in conversion projects and the 120-year-old site is on the way to becoming his company’s headquarters.

“Our plan is to transform the plant into an incredible waterfront development of 60 high quality rental apartments,” said Norton alumnus Knatchbull.

“It will have a gymnasium for the residents, a café, a games room, a lounge and a work area as well as an open leisure area by the river at the end of the building. ‘outside.

Real estate developer Oliver Davis, 34, is the new owner of the plant.  Photo: Steve Salter
Real estate developer Oliver Davis, 34, is the new owner of the plant. Photo: Steve Salter
The site was affected by a fire in May 1974
The site was affected by a fire in May 1974

“If someone had told me 15 years ago that I would own the flour mills, I would have laughed.

Mr Davis, who used to visit the site when it came to a club, has previously worked on projects for Folkestone District Council and Hythe and East Kent Housing.

In 2018, his company converted a former office building in Whitstable into luxury apartments, starting at £ 150,000.

He took over the factory project with his business partner Rory Brace, 33, and the couple have previously been in discussions with Ashford City Council about the project.

It is not yet clear when a formal planning request will be submitted, but they say the site, which has been empty since 2014, will need to be emptied before work can begin.

Queues for Liquid's opening night in November 2002
Queues for Liquid’s opening night in November 2002
Business partners Oliver Davis and Rory Brace have big plans for the historic mill.  Photo: Steve Salter
Business partners Oliver Davis and Rory Brace have big plans for the historic mill. Photo: Steve Salter

Mr Brace said: “Our ambition for this magnificent building is first to save it from the brink of unrepairability and then bring it back to life to provide a high quality place where people can live, work. , exercise and socialize.

“As we dig deeper into the history of the site, we understand more and more the activity on the site, right down to the Domesday Book.

“The fascinating and varied uses of this particular site over the years will influence our plans for the future, where we hope to create exciting new spaces influenced by its fascinating past.”

The mill was not included in the Ashford School 'master plan', which instead included a sixth grade center on the school grounds.
The mill was not included in the Ashford School ‘master plan’, which instead included a sixth grade center on the school grounds.
The mill by the river could house 60 “high quality” apartments.  Photo: Steve Salter
The mill by the river could house 60 “high quality” apartments. Photo: Steve Salter

In 2017, proposals emerged to transform the seven-story building, which was rebuilt after a catastrophic fire in May 1974, into a performing arts center for the Ashford School, featuring a 250-seat theater and offices for staff.

The construction of a number of studios and a nursery on the ground floor was considered, but the mill built in 1901 was not included in the project of the “master plan” of the school drawn up by the architect. Shepheard Epstein Hunter.

Instead, it included an offer for a new sixth-grade building on the school site, which was approved by the Ashford council last March.

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