Vernon Works Aerial Main
The 116-year-old mill sits on High Barn Street in Royton

Renaker subsidiary snaps up Oldham mill

Sarah Townsend

Kellen Homes, part of the developer behind Manchester’s Deansgate Square and Crown Street apartment schemes, has acquired Vernon Works in Royton and plans to redevelop it into housing.

The property – a 116-year-old mill on High Barn Street – was sold by publicly listed investor The Character Group for £3.5m on an unconditional basis, the parties said. Real estate agency Davies Harrison acted for The Character in the deal and Grasscroft Property acted for Kellen.

Prior to the sale completing, Kellen had begun distributing consultation leaflets to local residents informing them of its plans to demolish the mill buildings and replace them with around 100 new homes. The homes would reportedly be a mix of low-rise two-, three- and four-bedroom family houses, under Kellen’s early-stage proposals.

The scheme would be Kellen parent Renaker’s first residential development venture outside Manchester city centre. Kellen was previously known as Renaker Homes.

Mark Calvert, land director at Kellen and Renaker, said: “Kellen Homes is excited to have acquired this redundant brownfield site. We aim to develop the site into a multi-tenure, sustainable development that provides much-needed high-quality housing.

“The development will cater for a range of occupiers, including families, couples and individuals. Our proposals will facilitate the regeneration of the site and inject much-needed investment into the local area.”

Davies Harrison director Rick Davies added: “Kellen Homes’ speculative purchase of this mill is indicative of its confidence in the area, which continues to benefit from significant investment.

“The majority of interest we received in this property was from developers as the mill had come to the end of its economic life. We had a number of offers for this building but Kellen’s ability to move quickly on an unconditional basis made them the optimum purchaser.”

This month, Kellen hired former Countryside Properties’ executive Ian Kelley as a director to help it expand the division. Kelly previously served as chief executive of the housebuilder’s Northern partnerships business.

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Another mill to be lost – what a shame!

Above all, they have overpaid massively for this site.

By Observer

Must try harder. Another day, another historic building lost. Take a leaf out of Capital & Centric’s book, please!

More noddy box housing, pastiche façades, insular communities, car-dominated streets and tiny windows. Is this really what people want? Love to be proven wrong.

By Disappointed

Disgraceful that yet another Victorian mill it to be eradicated to make way for homes, conversion to apartments would be the way forward so as to preserve these rapidly becoming extinct pieces of northern history….

By Mark

Soon with all these houses there will be grid lock through our village every day due to only 1 main road through to town centre and Rochdale

By Anonymous

Destroying a 116 year old mill isn’t cool. Hope Oldham Council have something to say about protecting the heritage. £35k per plot is also a lot for a site in Royton … over pay for land and then argue that it’s unviable to deliver a fair share of affordable homes.

By The Old Faithful

The residential areas which are currently around this mill are pretty decent . These will sell well. Royton is a bit of an unknown gem. It is a shame that the Metrolink does not go there.

By Elephant