COUNCILLORS have voted unanimously in favour of CALA Homes planned redevelopment of the former Molson Coors’ brewery site.

The landmark decision was reached by East Hampshire District Council’s planning committee after a near-three hour debate on Thursday evening (November 26).

Its approval will see the 12.8-acre site on Lower Turk Street transformed over the next four years, to include a new multi-purpose community centre, 220 open market and affordable homes, a 70-bed care home, alongside 58 assisted living homes, and the conversion of the listed Culverton House into five apartments.

A new landscaped River Wey Walk is proposed through the development, creating a new pedestrian and cycle route from the town centre to Kings Pond and the train station.

And the scheme will include 40 per cent affordable dwellings including four wheelchair accessible units for Treloar College.

The scheme will include a riverside children's play area, and will see 180 trees planted.

As well as using the existing access from Lower Turk Street, a pedestrian and vehicle access point will be created off Draymans Way along with a new pedestrian crossing.

The revised application was submitted to the district council in August after a lengthy period of public engagement, and councillors universally praised CALA Homes at Thursday’s meeting for responding to the concerns of the community and making numerous amendments to its initial plans.

Built in 1963 to make Harp Lager, the brewery site was bought by Bass in 1979 and the brewing division of Bass was acquired by Coors in 2002, prior to the merger in 2005 with Molson, when the company name became Molson Coors.

In recent years, Molson Coors’ Alton brewery had been reliant on brewing Heineken, which made up around 75 per cent of the total town brewery production.

In 2014, Heineken announced that it would not be renewing the contract and, as a result, Molson Coors embarked on a review of its UK brewery network.

That resulted in the brewery’s closure in May 2015 to end 52 years of brewing on the Manor Park site, and the loss of 108 jobs.

CALA Homes emerged as the developer leading the site’s redevelopment into a predominantly residential-led scheme in 2017.

The developer’s land and planning director John Richards said on submission of its revised plans in August: “We are delighted that Members of EHDC’s Planning Committee voted unanimously to support our proposed development at the former Molson Coors Brewery in Alton.

"This mixed-use development will play an important role in delivering much-needed new homes in the area, as well as providing affordable housing to address local need and all-important care facilities, as well as financial contributions via the section 106 agreement.

"The development will be an exemplar for Alton and will regenerate and rejuvenate this long neglected part of the town centre.

“This decision represents the culmination of close engagement with local residents, councillors, the town council and East Hampshire District Council to deliver a scheme that members felt able to unanimously support.

"This engagement will continue throughout the demolition and construction phases and only represents the start of CALA’s relationship with Alton.

“We expect construction work to start on the site in early 2021, with a view to launching the development in spring 2022.”

The detailed plans are available to view on the CALA Homes website at and also on the East Hampshire website using reference 25050/059.

* More to follow in next week’s Herald, on sale Thursday, December 3...