MORE than a century of chocolate production has come to an end in Nestlé’s old York factory.

The company yesterday completed the transfer of production to new, modern facilities on the Haxby Road site.

The move is just the latest phase in the restructuring of the manufacturing operation, which also involves the transfer of famous brands such as Smarties away from York and the loss of up to 645 jobs.

The southern end of the site, dubbed Nestlé South, where the original 19th century brick buildings stand, is set to undergo a mixed redevelopment creating offices, retail and residential properties.

The sale of the land is intended to help fund a major £20 million investment in the northern end of the factory, where modern, purpose-built buildings stand. A new Aero plant opened there earlier this year.

A Nestle Confectionery (UK) spokeswoman said today that all chocolate production would now be carried out at Elect, a £22 million plant installed by Nestle on the northern end of the site in 1993.

She said chocolate production had started in the old “Melangeur” facility in 1904, producing chocolate for many of the UK’s best loved brands, including KitKat, Aero, Quality Street and Yorkie.

The spokeswoman said: “The transfer is part of a three-year business transformation programme for the company announced in 2006. The programme has seen a multi-million pound investment in York to build world-class facilities for the production of world-class products.”

She said that Aero Bubbles was the last remaining chocolate product still being produced on the old site.

But it would be transferred to the £15million new state-of the-art Aero factory towards the end of the year.

Nestlé boss Paul Grimwood recently scotched rumours that the redevelopment of the old factory was in difficulties, saying he was happy with progress being made.