A study of over 400 towns with adult populations over 20,000 in the UK has shown Andover as one of the UK’s greatest growth towns.
The figures come from Savills Estate Agents and report Andover as 17th in a list of 438 settlements in terms of growth in employment and population, while house prices remain ‘achievable’.
This makes Andover a ‘booming’ environment and one of the UK’s ‘Uber-Towns’.
Developments in Andover like the introduction of a Business Improvement District, plans to create a Cultural Quarter and the recent surge in property builds puts Andover firmly in the list of towns that are not just surviving, but thriving.
There are marked similarities between Andover and the top growth towns in the UK. Like other Uber-Towns such as Wokingham (Berkshire), Hatfield (Hertfordshire) and Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire), Andover shares some notable similarities.
The redevelopment of Wokingham town centre has helped provide the Berkshire town with a 21.8% employment growth in the past ten years, Andover’s employment growth since 2009 is 22.6%. This bodes exceptionally well for Andover’s future.
The redevelopment of the Chantry Centre and the town centre area is currently under consultation, as part of Test Valley Borough Council’s ‘Andover Masterplan’.
A recent study by Hemingway Design had over 2,500 residents share their thoughts on the future of the town.
Wayne Hemingway, chief of the urban development agency recently told 95.9FM Andover Radio, “We’re finding that the good folk of Andover are very switched on.
“They know something needs to change. We are not going back to the days of BHS and Woolworths. And it’s not just the internet to blame.
“The biggest most significant factor is a ‘societal change’ in what people want from their town centres. Particularly the young people amongst us and their needs and buying habits”
Savills Estate Agents considered the proportion of the population who are in work, income figures, the number of jobs created in the past decade and residents’ average income as well as house price data to test the resilience of the new Uber-Towns.
Greg Greatbatch, real estate director for leading property agent Belvoir! on Bridge Street said, “We are not surprised to hear that Andover is recognised in a short list of growth towns. We have seen phenomenal growth in Andover over our past 22 years here.
The boss of the property agency on Bridge Street added, “There are a number of factors for this, but not least is that Andover property represents fantastic value for money when compared to our nearest neighbouring towns such as Basingstoke and Winchester.
“Andover is particularly attractive for both owner occupiers and landlords alike.”Greg Greatbatch, Belvoir! Andover
Commenting on the report, Andover BID Manager Steve Godwin says, “People must think to the future. Purchasing trends in the high street are changing across the country and we are proud to see the results from Savills confirm that Andover is not unusual in how high streets are performing, but we have a chase on over 400 other UK towns.”
Like Milton Keynes, house prices in Andover have grown – but not so dramatically as to cause a drop in property sales. Transport links are also a factor. A direct train to Waterloo from Andover takes just 70 minutes, meaning Andover retains a strong connection to the capital which makes the town a ‘relatively affordable place to live’.
The average house price in Andover according to Land Registry is £261,500. By comparison, the average house price in Wokingham is £470,000.
Like Andover’s newly built leisure centre, Hatfield’s new leisure facility has helped the town’s placement on the list of 22 Uber-Towns and expectation remains that Andover’s commitment to being ‘ready for the future’ will unfold in the coming years.
This is particularly important relevant as Test Valley Borough Council continues its plans to redevelop the area around The Lights theatre, increase the amount of housing available and redevelop areas like the Town Mills pocket park, opening and improving the environment and vistas to Andover’s River Anton.
BID Manager Mr Godwin adds, “We see these results as a great start for Andover to continue to be among the UK’s best ‘future-proof towns’ for the changes and challenges of tomorrow and as part of this we are looking at how we prepare our town centre for the future, and the innovations and technologies which will help, along with a look at town centres in their broader context.
“The BID is committed to helping the high street adapt to changing consumer trends and our introduction of free Wi-Fi and a state of the art digital radio scheme is aimed at encouraging increased footfall, reducing crime whilst the business environmentally friendly waste charter and the recently formed Indies group will ensure that town centre businesses remains competitive with other towns.”
Find out more about the Andover Masterplan here.
Find out more about the Andover Bid here.
Visit the Belvoir! Andover website here.
Listen to Andover Radio’s interview with Wayne Hemingway below: