On Wednesday 2 June Andover residents are invited to attend the official opening of the Town Mills Riverside Park and enjoy a day of family fun.
Between 11am – 3pm, the park will be filled with Alice in Wonderland themed attractions and visitors will be welcomed to explore the enchanted garden full of colourful flowers and mushrooms, take part in a giant bug hunt and experience the weird and wonderful Playground of Illusions. Mad Hatters and March Hares can sip tea and eat cake served by local businesses from the town. There will also be some free storytelling sessions in the enchanted garden and craft workshops for children, which can be booked in advance by calling The Lights Theatre Box office.
The new riverside development is a joint project between Test Valley Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and Andover Vision. In addition to Hampshire County Council’s contribution of £969,000 and Test Valley Borough Council’s contribution of £133,000, the scheme has received more than half a million pounds in funding from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), bringing the total investment to £1.6 million.
The park was completed in March this year, but due to the national lockdown, a decision was made to postpone the official opening until restrictions were eased.
The picturesque park offers a peaceful setting for those wishing to enjoy the space at their leisure and play, picnic and relax. People can make use of the wooden benches, which have been positioned in circular sections looking out across the river and soak up the view as they pass through the attractive route.
There will be a small opening ceremony taking place at 11:30am, during the event, where representatives from the organisations involved in the development will officially open the park and celebrate Andover’s newest asset.
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, said: “It’s been a pleasure to make use of the new Riverside Park as we’ve started to move safely out of the lockdown period. The past couple of months have allowed for the recently planted shrubs to bed in and the grass to settle, and we are already seeing lots of people benefit from the new area.
“The opening event in June will offer a great mix of outdoor activities for the whole family to take part in. The park is the first step in our delivery of the total transformation of Andover town centre and sets the standard for what we plan to bring to the town.”
Hampshire County Councillor Rob Humby, said: “This event will highlight what can be achieved by working together in partnership and enable residents to see the benefits. We have been delighted to support the town’s regeneration with our £969,000 investment in constructing a new access to Andover’s Town Mills car park to make the town’s car parks accessible from the ring road and make the town centre a more attractive area for pedestrians and cyclists. This, in turn, will help to reduce congestion and improve the town’s air quality.”
Kevin Travers, EM3’s Head of Infrastructure, Transport and Place added: “Making towns greener, improving air quality and facilitating enhanced active travel links are key priorities for the LEP. This investment is another step forward in bringing to life the strategic priorities set out in our Revive and Renew Economic Action Plan which encourages people to stay local and presents a revisioning of town centres to make them happier places to live and work in.”
The Town Mills Riverside Park opening event will take place on Wednesday 2 June, 11am – 3pm. Free tickets for the children’s craft workshops and storytelling sessions are limited and can be booked in advance by calling The Lights Box Office on 01264 368368.
For more information about the improvements visit: https://www.hants.gov.uk/News/15032021AndoverTownMills