An artist’s startling impressions show what Ashford’s historic Flourmill could look like if the plan to convert it into 53 apartments were approved.

Real estate developer Oliver Davis submitted his bold proposal to borough council – six months since KentOnline revealed he had taken over the site.

What the ploy might look like from the bottom of East Hill. Photo: Hollaway Studio

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

Ashford School took over the unlisted building in 2011, but the site was sold to Mr Davis over the summer after two years of negotiations.

His company – Oliver Davis Homes – specializes in conversion projects and the 120-year-old structure is on the way to becoming its headquarters.

It plans to offer 53 apartments with a mix of one and two bedroom duplexes, and one and two bedroom apartments and studios.

The ground floor will also include a living room and workspace for residents, a cafeteria and a large gym.

Aerial view of an artist showing what the site might look like.  Photo: Hollaway Studio
Aerial view of an artist showing what the site might look like. Photo: Hollaway Studio
The site has been empty since 2014. Photo: Steve Salter
The site has been empty since 2014. Photo: Steve Salter
The riverside site is not classified as a historical monument
The riverside site is not classified as a historical monument

The request had yet to be posted on Ashford City Council’s planning portal yesterday.

But in a statement shared on his company’s Instagram page last week, Mr Davis said he submitted his bid for the site, which has been empty since 2014.

“After one of the most detailed and fascinating processes, today is the day we submit the planning for our iconic site, the Central Ashford Flour Mills,” he said.

“Over the past 18 months we have been on a true journey of discovery, going back through history and learning a lot about this fascinating site.

“We, along with our fantastic team of architects and consultants, have worked tirelessly to bring what we believe to be an exceptional project to downtown Ashford that reflects and pays homage to the history of this iconic building.

Real estate developer Oliver Davis is the new owner of the plant.  Photo: Steve Salter
Real estate developer Oliver Davis is the new owner of the plant. Photo: Steve Salter
Fifty-three apartments are planned under the project.  Photo: Hollaway Studio
Fifty-three apartments are planned under the project. Photo: Hollaway Studio
The Ashford School sold the site to Oliver Davis Homes earlier this year.  Photo: Hollaway Studio
The Ashford School sold the site to Oliver Davis Homes earlier this year. Photo: Hollaway Studio
How the site currently looks inside.  Photo: Steve Salter
How the site currently looks inside. Photo: Steve Salter
Site plans have been submitted to Ashford Borough Council.  Photo: Hollaway Studio
Site plans have been submitted to Ashford Borough Council. Photo: Hollaway Studio

“Outside, we will open up public access to the River Stour and create a river walk with amphitheater-style seating overlooking the river and a community garden space on the ‘island’ at the back of the mill.

“We couldn’t be more excited to start in 2022.”

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 transformed a former office building in Whitstable into luxury apartments.

Before Mr Davis took over the flour mill, proposals emerged in 2017 to transform the seven-story building into a performing arts center for the Ashford School, with a 250-seat theater and offices for staff, but the project never saw the light of day.

Mr. Davis has been working on the plan for 18 months.  Photo: Hollaway Studio
Mr. Davis has been working on the plan for 18 months. Photo: Hollaway Studio
The site was affected by a fire in May 1974
The site was affected by a fire in May 1974
The developers say that the scheme
The developers say the program “pays homage to the history of the iconic building.” Photo: Hollaway Studio
Queues for Liquid's opening night in November 2002
Queues for Liquid’s opening night in November 2002
What the site looks like from the parking lot of the Ashford City Council Flour Mills in East Hill
What the site looks like from the parking lot of the Ashford City Council Flour Mills in East Hill

For an exclusive look at the abandoned nightclub site, click here.