PLANS to redevelop Andover Bus Station are moving forward with the completion of complex legal negotiations and agreements that will now allow a contractor to be appointed and work to start to start in the spring.

Transport capital funding of £2.9 million is set to be invested in extending and refurbishing the bus station needed to cope with the town’s expanding population.

The finance will come from contributions from developers responsible for major commercial and housing construction schemes in the area, as part of their planning agreements to improve facilities for bus passengers. This is in addition to the junction and highway improvements that are taking place to support these developments. Local councils say development of the bus station is an integral component of the Andover Town Access Plan. In developing the Plan, it was recognised that the capacity of the bus station would need to be increased to cope with the anticipated increase in the number of passengers and buses coming from the major development areas of East Anton, Picket Twenty and Andover Airfield. The new facilities will provide the following benefits, additional space for buses and coaches, an enclosed waiting and internal seating area, a bus enquiry office staffed by the main bus operator, a café, a Shopmobility facility, office accommodation for the bus operator and electronic passenger information systems.

Councillor Ken Thornber, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “A new bus station would make a significant contribution to improving bus travel to and from Andover. “There are clearly benefits for bus users with passengers being able to enjoy a more comfortable waiting area and regularly updated travel information. Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Ian Carr said " With the developments at East Anton, Andover Airfield and Picket Twenty, it is important that bus services expand to support this economic growth, The enhancement also fits well with the aspirations of the recent Andover Summit to revitalise the town. The redevelopment of the bus station will deliver an enclosed, welcoming and comfortable place to wait for a bus, greatly improving the facilities for existing and new bus passengers visiting the town." During the construction period the bus station will be closed and arrangements will be in place for temporary bus stops to be located nearby. More details of the arrangements will be available nearer the construction start time. The pedestrian link through the bus station into the Chantry Centre will be maintained while work is under way.

Work is expected to start in Spring 2013 and will take approximately 12 months to complete. Test Valley Borough Council and Friends Life plc will retain ownership of the bus station and Stagecoach will be the principal bus provider operating out of the bus station.