The Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, has today confirmed that the Council has been in discussions with a number of parties over the past eight months about how Andover Town Centre, and the Chantry Centre in particular, can adapt to the changing nature of the modern High Street.
Cllr North said “Improving and enhancing Andover Town Centre is one of Test Valley’s top priorities. Since I became Leader, we’ve brought forward two major projects – in the new Town Mill Riverside Park and the Cultural Quarter centred around the former Magistrates Court – to make Andover Town Centre a more attractive place to visit and enjoy in the future.
“However, there can be no doubt that the internet and changing shopping habits have and will continue to change the nature of High Streets up and down the country. Andover is not immune from this change and the recent dialogue with Marks and Spencer has reinforced my convictions about the need for Andover to sustain a modern and vibrant town centre. Perhaps one where there will inevitably be a greater focus on the town centre as a social and leisure destination, as well as shopping.
“I have previously made clear my ambitions for a fundamental change of our shopping space. The recent controversy about M&S’s proposal to leave the High Street has spurred me to go public on the Council’s work to realise these ambitions, especially in relation to redeveloping the Chantry Centre.
“We have held discussions with a number of different parties over the past eight months as to how this might be achieved. Such discussions necessarily have to be “commercial in confidence” at the outset, but we will share more information with the public as soon as we can.
“There is much work still to be done, but I am committed to seeking a step change for the town as a whole.”