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A Hampshire solicitor has helped preserve the history of a 300-year-old paper mill during its transformation into a gin distillery and visitors’ centre.

Graeme Quar, founder of Graeme Quar & Co, was asked to carry out complex legal work behind Bacardi Ltd’s plans to sensitively renovate the old mill into the Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke, near Whitchurch in Hampshire.

Laverstoke Mill is in a Conservation Area and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the site upon which it sits was originally part of Laverstoke Manor, which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. The River Test flows through the site creating a unique wetland habitat that Bombay Sapphire has taken the utmost care to preserve and protect.

Graeme Quar, who founded the Fareham-based solicitors 20 years ago, said: “This has, by necessity, been a very complex development which has been carried out extremely sensitively by Bombay Sapphire.

“As a result a historic paper mill has been preserved for the future and opened up for the public to visit, either to the distillery itself or by the heritage trail that encompasses the site.

“We are proud to have been asked to deal with the legal work underpinning this development, which has been awarded the highly prestigious BREEM Award for Industrial Design.”

Work has finished on the transformation of the mill into the distillery, as well as on glasshouses and the heritage trail around some of the other mill buildings on the site. It is due to open to the public for the first time on October 1.

However, further plans have been submitted to transform two of the buildings into a bistro, shop, lounge bar, high-end dining area and a dining terrace in order to further open the site to visitors.

“It is an exciting development and we are pleased to have been involved in both stages of it,” added Graeme.

“It is good to know that such an important and historical building is being preserved for future generations to visit and enjoy.”

There has been a mill on the site since records began, first used as a corn mill and then, from 1790, as one of the largest paper mills in the country, producing paper which was used in the production of bank notes.

It was owned by the Portal family until the 1950s, when its operations transferred to the Overton Mill nearby.