College could do more for employment

First published in Your Say

FULL marks to Andover College for trying to secure its land deal but I hope the council will stick to its draft plan and allow no major housing development south of the A303 – it will set a precedent and open up the floodgates.

Claims that this will solve the housing shortage are hollow – there is not a shortage of houses, there is a shortage of housing that people on typical average Andover wages can afford.

It is true that the college has increased its size enormously in the last few years but part of this is due to poor job opportunities in the Andover area.

Many young people choose to improve their qualifications rather than take a dead-end job or go on the dole. It is a huge injustice to pour more and more money into educating young people when all they will be doing is building up huge debt without any guarantee they will improve their job prospects.

What we need is industrial and economic growth.

TVBC must be losing huge amounts of money from commercial rates with so many industrial units lying empty.

Why not strike some agreement with the college to promote growth and give them a cut in the increased rates income so that they can afford their expansion plans?

There are so many obvious things that can be done to encourage investment.

There are thousands of overseas companies looking for ‘bases’ in the UK, which has unique links to both Europe and the US.

Alibaba – the international trade portal – is full of requests and trade invitations.

Andover has brilliant infrastructure links – both to the port of Southampton, to Wales and the North, the West Country and London.

There is a well educated albeit underemployed local population.

Shouldn’t there be a practical strategy that pulls together local entrepreneurs, business owners, education providers and local councillors with a brief to ‘make it happen’ and doesn’t the local college have a role in this?

So yes, it would be lovely to see the college expand but it should be through contributing to employment growth, not through yet more housing development.

Maureen Treadwell Meadow View Chilbolton Stockbridge

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