MILLIONS is to be spent on a major revamp of Andover bus station – but the bus station will shut for a year as work takes place.

The plans to revamp the facility are moving forward following the completion of complex legal negotiations and agreements that will now allow a contractor to be appointed and work to start in the spring.

Transport capital funding of £2.9m 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.

Local council leaders say a new bus station is needed 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 additional space for buses and coaches, an enclosed waiting and internal seating area, a bus enquiry office staffed by the main bus operator, a cafe, a Shopmobility facility, office accommodation for the bus operator and electronic passenger information systems.

Hampshire council leader Ken Thornber 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 Ian Carr added: “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.”

The pedestrian link through the bus station into the Chantry Centre will be maintained while work is under way.