The £1.3m Town Mill riverside project has been given the green light by Test Valley Borough Council’s northern planning committee.
Last night, councillors gave the go ahead for the project to totally overhaul the area around the Town Mills pub in Andover.
It will be completely transformed into a picturesque public park which will showcase the river and incorporate a new shared cycle and footpath from Western Avenue and riverside boardwalk.
The work will involve closing off vehicle access from Bridge Street into Town Mill Road, with a new access created from Western Avenue to the existing car park and businesses.
As part of the consultation for the renewal of the Andover Vision initiative in 2016/17, many of the 4,000 respondents were keen to see more made of the River Anton in the heart of the town centre.
Residents said that they wanted it to become somewhere people could stay, play, picnic and enjoy the river.
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news. This is such an exciting project which will mark the start of our work to transform Andover town centre.
“We are lucky to have such a beautiful river flowing through the town but we could make so much more of it. And we have received consistent feedback from residents and businesses over the years echoing that view.
“The redevelopment of the town centre is my main priority and I am delighted that we are already making real headway in our journey to change Andover.”
Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Hampshire County Council and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, added: “The car park access works will be delivered by Hampshire County Council in support of Test Valley Borough Council’s overall objectives for this important Town Centre improvement.
“We’ve designed it to reduce congestion and improve air quality in the town centre by providing a new access to the Town Mill car park which will ensure that all the principle town car parks are accessible from the ring road and making improvements to cycling and pedestrian access.
“The County Council is keen to actively support our market towns across Hampshire, and is investing capital funds to help them continue to thrive and prosper.”
The project will now be considered at a county council decision day in September.
For more information visit: https://www.hants.gov.uk/transport/transportschemes/andovertownmill
Hampshire County Council is putting in place arrangements to ensure that work can start on the access and highways works in early 2020.