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Scaffolding Standoff: Andover Town Centre’s Struggle and Council Leader’s Unwavering Resolve for Resolution

Test Valley Borough Council leader Phil North shed light on the ongoing predicament surrounding the scaffolding encompassing the building housing Ladbrokes and Ark Hair Design in Andover town centre.

In a Facebook post the Test Valley Borough Council leader aimed to elucidate the latest developments and the relentless efforts to expedite the resolution of this issue. However, with the scaffolding standing for over a year now, concerns have grown not only about the unsightly appearance of the High Street but also the impact on disabled parking bays and the local businesses.

The Origins of the Scaffolding

The scaffolding surrounding the building in question emerged as a result of serious concerns about the structure’s stability. The necessity of this measure was apparent, as it aimed to ensure public safety and protect pedestrians in the busy Andover town centre. Nonetheless, the extended presence of the scaffolding has not only marred the aesthetic appeal of the High Street but has also led to the suspension and relocation of disabled parking bays, creating additional challenges for the community.

Frustration and Attempts for Resolution

Council leader Phil North expressed his frustration with the perceived lack of action on the site. Back in February, he took the initiative to write to the owners of the building, seeking an update on the progress of the necessary repairs. However, the response from the building’s owners suggested that it was Ladbrokes, as the occupant under a full repairing lease, who bore the responsibility to address the building’s issues.

Further efforts were made in March when Council leader North contacted Ladbrokes Headquarters to request a response. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the Chief Executive to follow up in May, no response was forthcoming. Consequently, the Test Valley Borough Council explored alternative methods of communication and attempted to reach out to Ladbrokes through their public affairs team.

Determination for a Solution

Despite the roadblocks encountered in attempting to resolve the issue, Council leader Phil North remains undeterred in his commitment to see positive action taken. He is actively exploring all possible avenues to ensure the building’s owners and Ladbrokes are compelled to undertake the necessary repairs. The ultimate goal is to remove the scaffolding and restore the Andover town centre to its full potential.

Community Involvement and Future Updates

In the spirit of transparency and community involvement, Council leader North pledged to keep the public updated on the progress made in resolving the situation. The active engagement of the community is essential in putting pressure on the responsible parties to take swift action.

Local business has been affected

In a distressing turn of events for local business owner Gerald Kingsley, the prolonged presence of scaffolding has become a pressing concern for his hair salon, Ark Hair Design. The scaffolding, which has obscured the shopfront for an alarming eight months, was initially erected in June 2022 to address structural issues on the building’s corner. Unfortunately, this well-intentioned measure has now inadvertently caused significant disruptions to Gerald’s business, leading to a drop in customers and financial strain.

The once-vibrant and inviting Ark Hair Design on High Street now struggles to attract customers due to the unsightly scaffolding. To make matters worse, the scaffolding has been wrapped in plastic, effectively concealing the shop from view and creating the illusion of a closed business. As a result, potential clients walking past are unknowingly seeking haircuts elsewhere, causing a noticeable decline in daily foot traffic and revenue for Gerald’s salon.

The plight of the scaffolding surrounding the building in Andover town centre has been a significant concern for the community. While the initial measure was necessary for safety reasons, the extended period of its presence has led to frustrations and inconveniences. Council leader Phil North’s dedication to finding a resolution and restoring the High Street’s charm showcases the commitment of local authorities to address community concerns. As the situation unfolds, regular updates will be provided to keep the public informed and engaged in the process of resolving this issue. The hope remains that with collective efforts and determination, the scaffolding can be removed, allowing Andover town centre to thrive once again.