The Conservative party chairman has been in Andover today to hear plans for the town.
On a walking tour of the town centre area, James Cleverly heard Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC)’s plans for the town, following their recent acquisition of the Chantry Centre and the ongoing consultation for the Andover Masterplan.
“It’s a busy time at Westminster at the moment, but it’s always good to get out and about and hear what our local parties are doing“, said Mr Cleverly.
“It’s my first time to Andover in a political capacity, I was in the Royal Artillery so I come to this neck of the woods occasionally and see the work the local council is doing.
“It’s good to hear about the investment being put into the shopping centre and the town centre.”
The MP for Braintree was taken to a number of local businesses including David Mellor Family Jewellers and heard from local Tory party members about their plans for the rejuvenation of the Chantry Centre.
TVBC purchased the remaining share of the much maligned shopping centre earlier this year in a £7m deal.
The acquisition of the centre will permit TVBC to renovate the area by the bus station and assist with the creation of a ‘Cultural Quarter’ which may see the entire redevelopment of the old magistrates’ court and The Lights theatre.
“They (TVBC) are being really proactive and they are putting their money where their mouth is. With the investment in the shopping centre and getting Wayne Hemingway to do town Masterplanning, they are demonstrating a confidence and a passion for this town centre.
“I’ve just been to a local shop and they are really excited about what is happening and it will great to see the council’s investment really put a boost into the town”.
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council Cllr Phil North arranged the visit from Westminster to show representatives from Conservative Party HQ the issues facing Andover and explain in detail their work to date and plans for the future.
“Test Valley are demonstrating a commitment and showing that they want the town to be a great success.
“They are investing time, money and effort into the town and when people start seeing that investment pay off it will be a self-reinforcing thing, I have no doubt.
“There is real passion from the team here. I am excited about it and I’ve only popped here for the morning.”
On the subject of a potential election around the corner, Mr Cleverly told 95.9FM Andover Radio “We really hope there is an election soon. We’re in an awkward situation where Boris desperately wants to move on and talk about the things that matter to local people; the local economy, local policing and local schools. We are being hampered from doing soon because the opposition are running scared of an election.
“I say bring it on, I am keen to get an election done so we can get a working majority and deliver for the British people”.