Christmas Local News

Success or Shambles? Andover Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland Travelling Cupcake Andover

It’s a fine line between success and failure, as the organisers of yesterday’s Winter Wonderland event in Andover town centre found out.

Andover Radio has been contacted by a number of people wishing to express some concern over the way that the Christmas event which straddled the High Street and the Riverside Park was organised.

Lots of online chatter seemed to suggest that the event which, in part, was designed to support our local, independent town centre businesses actually hindered their trade.

Kellie and Steve from Canto Gelato says she had to close her store because, “The stalls in front of the shop has made it very hard for us to open and trade sadly.”

The cake and tea shop Travelling Cupcake also had concerns, sharing online, “Thank you so much to the organisers of this event for fully blocking the entrance to our shop.”

Implying that a competitive business was positioned right outside her popular store, owner Bev shared, “I was specifically promised by a member of team organising today that since we were paying out extra for extra staff and were baking extra (for the masses expected) that there would be no other bakeries on the high street pitch. The stalls are meant to compliment the businesses already there, not take business away.”

David Harber on Andover Radio this morning asked for listeners’ thoughts on the event, whether positive or otherwise.

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Amongst many Facebook comments, Bonnie Reid talking of stalls in the high street shared with Canto Gelato, “It’s quite a few that are blocked and you can’t see or get to them. And why put a tea, coffee and hot chocolate stall right outside your place”.

Canto Gelato, the artisan ice cream and coffee shop announced last week that they would have to close because of the unsustainable rising costs of running a business.

Winter Wonderland was organised by Our Andover CIC, owned by Andover’s town mayor Cllr David Coole.  The company’s mission claims to “enable Andover and surrounding Villages become an unique and attractive location for residents, visitors and businesses.”

Enthusiastic young politician Dmitrijs Meiksans was the event’s, ‘co-organiser’.

On-air David Harber added, “If you’re a local business who benefitted from the event – please let me know… Maybe you attended and loved the event – I really would love to know.”

“I have always said that this radio station should shy away from working with events and organisations that abuse us and the wider Andover community for egotistical reasons or for political or personal financial gain.”

Yesterday, the leader of Test Valley Borough Council Cllr Phil North posted on Canto Gelato’s Facebook page, “I’ve seen the frustration of other shops… including the Travelling Cupcake so will be taking this up with council officers tomorrow”.

Local businessman and event exhibitor Nigel Male from Nidge’s Artisan Pizza Kitchen told Andover Radio, “It was an absolute nightmare, nearly every single stall had generators. The noise in the High Street was 89dB [Decibels] let alone the fumes.

“Out of all the caterers as far as I can make out, only one was a local trader. I genuinely feel sorry for the traders in the town centre.”

The organisers and businesses that found the day to be a success are asked to contact us. Please email news@loveandover.com

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