Development of an Andover town centre masterplan ‘forges ahead’.
Test Valley Borough Council, NEW Masterplanning and HemingwayDesign are busy developing the final town centre ‘masterplan’ for Andover, using feedback gained from the town centre redevelopment project’s latest public consultation.
Between December and January, more than 1,100 people shared their views on the emerging vision for the future of the town. This was in addition to the 3,000 responses received to an initial survey in summer 2019.
During the second stage consultation, residents and businesses had the opportunity to view the plans at a key stakeholder event at St Mary’s Church, a public drop-in shop at Bridge Street and complete an online survey to share their thoughts.
But while the country has been in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, work has continued to drive forward the project to revitalise the town centre, with the council and its consultants busy reviewing the comments from the public and using them to help shape the final masterplan.
Results from the consultation showed that more than two thirds of respondents highlighted the redevelopment of the Chantry Centre as their top priority for the rejuvenation project. Locals want to see more flexible space for independent traders and the opportunity to bring community events, markets and pop-up activities into the centre.
The proposition to introduce a wider variety of cafés and restaurants into Andover, in particular along the River Anton corridor, was well received. Participants want the Guildhall to have a new civic or community use and there was support to bring The Lights theatre into a more central location in the centre of town. People also like the idea of creating a well-being quarter featuring a green public space, to offer residents and visitors the chance to play, exercise and relax.
To support the introduction of new facilities in the area the majority of survey participants were also in favour of plans to transform the Western Avenue gyratory, which will potentially allow the River Anton to be opened up, and improve connectivity across the town.
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, said, “Despite the unprecedented times that we have found ourselves in over the past few months, we are continuing to progress with developing the masterplan for Andover town centre.
“I would like to thank all of the people who took the time to engage with the proposals during our latest consultation, their input has been essential in helping to steer the vision for the town. Regeneration is the key to recovery and as the High Street opens up again, this poses a very exciting future leading to a new era for Andover.”
Lora White of NEW masterplanning commented, “The consultations responses to our town centre proposals were fantastic, and really helped us to shape the masterplan moving forward. In these unprecedented times it is even more important that Andover has a vision for its town centre that is supported by the local community and ultimately its users.”
Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design added, “Town centres across the UK were in transition before Covid-19 and it is becoming commonly accepted that this transition to less homogeneous places with more independent retailers, markets, events, social and green spaces, employment and housing now needs to speed up to avoid further decline. Andover has the opportunity to grasp the future now.”
The final masterplan is due to be presented to residents and businesses in September before it is adopted by the council.
To view the emerging proposals for Andover, visit www.thinkandovertowncentre.co.uk
You can listen to the Leader of Test Valley Borough Council Phil North talking with Ben Morris on 95.9FM Andover Radio about plans for the future of Andover town centre (programme first broadcast on 19th March 2020):