CALA Homes Plans Approved
The fate of the Coors Brewery site reached a significant milestone on the 26th November when EHDC’s Planning Committee gave permission to CALA Homes, based on the June 2020 revisions to their earlier application (ref: 25050/059).
Although consultations with EHDC Planners, Alton Town Council and The Alton Society have achieved some notable improvements, there are serious issues remaining, despite strong support from our Alton councillors at the planning meeting.
Included on the ‘plus’ side are:
- Some modest improvements to the Wey Walk link from the town centre, including a repositioning of the pedestrian crossing over Draymans Way.
- Some widening of the green space around the river, inside the site itself.
- Improved footpath links, and HCC taking responsibility for the path to the station.
- Environmental improvements, eg EV charging points, more tree planting, swift boxes and hedgehog fences.
- There is also a suggestion that that the River Wey should be restored to a more ‘natural’ state, as it flows through the site.
The main issues that remain include:
- The proposed layout at the Draymans Way entrance lacks the open space and ‘civic amenity’ that we would like to see at this vitally important pedestrian junction, and still fails to provide a really direct link into the town centre.
- The ‘community hub’ proposed for the ground floor of a four storey apartment block is totally unsuitable, in our view. It has no specified purpose, is far too small for a multi-use performance space, and has inadequate parking.
- Alarmingly, there has been no attempt by CALA Homes to build in the renewable energy systems that will be required by new government regulations, meaning that the heating provision for these 220 dwellings will almost certainly be obsolete by the time they are built.
We remain hopeful that the huge demolition and groundwork tasks will allow time for further progress on some of these issues.
This 7 hectare town centre site became available for development following the announcement of the brewery’s closure in December 2014. A Development Brief was produced by a project panel comprising the site owners’ agents and members of the Alton Town Council and EHDC, following consultation with local residents and other stakeholders, between December 2015 and May 2016. It aims to provide a framework for any prospective developer.
The public concern that followed the publication of the Development Brief, and its accompanying “Illustrative Masterplan”, led the Alton Society to conduct an opinion survey to gauge local opinion on some of its key aspects. We made a number of suggestions to improve the document, focusing on enhanced provision of civic space and the re-apportionment of areas of land use within the site, bearing in mind the site’s central location and its overall topography.
CALA Homes have since held a public consultation (on the 3rd and 4th of July 2019) where they put forward their proposals,prior to submitting a planning application. This has raised a number of concerns, notably the failure to honour the requirement to provide a community facility on the site.
Further information can be found:
- The Development Brief
- The Alton Society’s Survey Results
- The Alton Society’s formal response
- The Alton Society’s suggested improvements
LATEST NEWS on CALA Homes’ application:
Draymans Way entrance to the Brewery Site
Here’s our exciting Proposal for the Wey Walk crossing over Draymans Way, at the entrance to the Coors Brewery site.
What we aim to achieve:
- An attractive pedestrian/cyclist friendly space straddling Draymans Way
- A traffic-calming ‘table’ to stop the road being used as a race-track.
- Open up the entrance to the CALA Homes site, to make it more attractive and welcoming, and
- Address the Highways’ objections to a direct pedestrian route straight into the site, and create a much better connection with the town centre.
Here is our immediate past chairman’s critique of the community funding issues arising from CALA Homes planning application ref: 25050/059
Here are our comments on this application, and here is the annotated layout it refers to, indicating the changes we would like to see. Here is a fuller explanation of these suggested improvements. We believe these will make a significant improvement to this crucially important scheme.