When news happens, text AND and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Town manager plan 'close to agreement'
11:00am Monday 7th October 2013 in News
AN AGREEMENT for Andover to have a town centre manager to help rejuvenate the town has almost been reached.
The plan involves the area’s three local council’s town, borough and county chipping into the project to fund the £27,000 annual cost over the first three years.
Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire County Council have already agreed to the money being spent.
A borough council spokesman said: “The commitment is there from Hampshire and from ourselves.
“When we did a shop survey we found that retailers were crying out for this.”
Whether the project gets the go-ahead depends on the full town council agreeing to fund it when it meets in full session on 21 November.
Town centre manager is a wide-ranging role. It can involve marketing the town, ensuring it is safe, clean and tidy, co-ordinating and promoting events, regeneration and promoting a mutual understanding between the private and public sectors.
The town’s policy and resources committee has already backed the proposal – but some councillors are not happy.
Independent council Veronika Pond, who represents the Harroway ward, said: “At an extremely lively committee meeting at the end of September this decision was challenged as not being fair on Andover Town Council whose entire budget is a fraction of the two bigger councils but unfortunately I lost the vote at five to two with one abstention.
“The Chantry Centre already has a manager, so this new position will only be responsible for a fraction of the town.
“A variety of larger towns in England such as Guildford, Folkestone, Cheltenham and Stevenage all have TCMs in place, and Alton is currently in negotiation with their Town Council and their Chamber of Commerce.
“I know that the town centre needs rejuvenating as does nearly every market town in England.
“Shopping habits have changed; purchasing from the web gives greater variety, next-day delivery all from the comfort of one’s own home with no costly parking charges. A win/win situation.
“People now seem to come into the town centre to socialise with friends, hence the upsurge in coffee and fast food outlets and to visit the markets.
“My question is this, is this the right way to spend ATC’s budget?
“We are a new council who have not been able to build up our reserves.
“If we proceed with this idea, we might have to raise our precept in the future to fund other projects.
“Also should we have negotiated harder so that the bigger councils pay more?”
Comments are closed on this article.