The various working groups have been working to improve the Town Centre. The following are the list of Andover Town Centre Outcomes up to and including June 2013:
The introductions of free bookings to the Time Ring to performers, with the aim of increasing footfall into the town centre. A series of entertainment events have already been lined up to link with the 2013 programme of Farmers Markets in the town.
Out and About Initiative
A local retailers’ “Out and About” initiative with additional retailers complementing the traditional range of scrumptious farm produce available at the farmers market:
- 17th March
- 19th May
- 17th November
- 15th December
“Bert and Gert’s” Vintage Markets
- 9th June
- 14th July
- 11th August
Small Business Fair
Small Business Fair on 21st June. Free pitches were available in the High Street to give local businesses the opportunity to promote their work to a wider audience.
Love Your Local Market
A national initiative where the whole country is encouraged to shop locally from 15th to 29th May. Andover held a special Farmers’ Market on Sunday 19th May which included a range of additional stalls as part of the Retailers’ “Out and About” initiative complemented by the Test Valley in Bloom gardeners’ Market.
Independent Retailler Grant
A new Independent Retailer Grant of £1,000 is now available to encourage independently-owned retailers to take up vacant space. The £1,000 grant will be accompanied by a package of practical measures to help a new retailer through the difficult first months of trading.
Town Centre Management Survey
The views of retailers have been sought on rejuvenating the town. This has involved personal visits by the working group members to over 100 businesses to survey them on the possibility of jointly funding a Town Centre Manager and what the priorities might be. The results are currently being collated and will be shared once finalised.
Contact List Started
As part of the building better links with the business community the group is also establishing an e-mail contacts list, which has so far seen over 30 businesses sign up. This list will be used to keep retailers informed about the outcomes from the five summit working groups, forthcoming events and activities in the town centre and as a quick route to seek their views on town centre issues.
Estates Gazette Listing
Contact has been made with over 80 business on the Estates Gazette retailer requirements listing who have expressed an interest in investigating premises in Andover. The approach seeks to establish their precise requirements and put them in touch with local letting agents.
Planning Controls Review
The reviewing planning controls working group identified a number of key areas to progress. These include:
- A review of the boundary outlining the retail zones of the town centre;
- The potential to introduce finger posts directing shoppers to retail outlets off the main High Street;
- Possible communal advertising signs in key locations in the High Street;
- The introduction of designated officers in the Planning Control Service to give guidance and support to retailers and businesses applying for signage and advertising in the Town Centre;
Community Street Audits
The Environmental Improvements Group will be undertaking a series of Community Street Audits throughout July in the Town centre. Local representatives are invited to join the audits along with the working group members and will highlight areas of concern or issues they wish to raise. As a result of the audits an action plan will be developed by the working group to address issues raised.
The parking and signage working group has produced an initial four point action plan. The plan focuses on:
- The possible introduction of on-street “Dash and Go” parking;
- Selective reductions to parking charges to boost the number of Christmas shopper and visitors to events;
- The phasing out of old style ticket machines to facilitate alternative parking methods and reviewing the provision of long term parking for the town’s workers;
The parking and signage working group have also identified a number of potential ways to address signage in and around Andover. A report detailing the proposals is currently being drafted and will be discussed by the working group members in the coming weeks to agree how and when to take these ideas forward.