Why 2013 can be a time for change

First published in Letters

AS we look forward to the Christmas and New Year break, it is a time to reflect on the past 12 months and what 2013 holds in store.

It will certainly be difficult to trump 2012, which was marked by some momentous events.

The Diamond Jubilee saw residents across the borough celebrating at street parties, while tens of thousands of people lined the streets to watch the Olympic torch pass through Andover.

June saw the signing of a Community Covenant with the armed forces, which marked a commitment to work together to honour, support and help the armed forces and their families, recognising the sacrifices they make and remembering, particularly at this time of year, that some pay the ultimate sacrifice.

The Olympics live on in Test Valley as we make plans to deliver more legacy projects on top of the Astroturf facility at Charlton and the resurfacing of the BMX track.

The coming year will see the potential for an urban sports facility in the centre of the town to include BMX and skateboarding.

The recent Andover Summit brought together a wide range of interested parties to pool ideas, agree priorities for the town and set up working groups to progress them.

I look forward in the coming year to these priorities being turned into actions to enhance and improve the town centre.

The New Year will see the council playing its part by introducing free use of the Time Ring for entertainment and community groups in order to attract people to the town.

We also propose to introduce a new grant to encourage independent retail businesses into the town centre.

After our intervention this year to save the Andover Farmers’ Market, residents will now be able to continue to enjoy the markets throughout 2013.

I also hope to see a new bus station and development of the Charter Market.

We will continue to welcome new residents at Picket Twenty and Augusta Park, bringing an opportunity for the town to increase shoppers and prosperity.

Given the tough economic climate, things will not change overnight, but I’m confident Andover is ready for both the challenges and opportunities 2013 will bring.

I wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Cllr Ian Carr Test Valley Borough Council

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