Dying town needs decent shops

Dying town needs decent shops

Dying town needs decent shops

First published in Letters

EVERY day there are complaints about the run down state of the town, and lack of shops, forcing many to go to other towns for essentials.

People are reminiscing about the old Andover when it was a lively, busy shopping centre.

I didn’t grow up in Andover, but came here nearly 40 years ago with my young family.

Then it was a wonderful place to shop - we had department stores, a great market, greengrocers, butchers, delicatessens, a fishmonger – the list is endless.

Now, as stated in Bev Campbell’s letter this week, there is nothing but cafes and charity shops.

It is indeed a dying town, like so many all over the country. When will Test Valley and Hampshire councils listen to what the people want and need, instead of wasting money on projects that are neither wanted or needed?

There is no possible point in revamping the upper High Street until we have some decent shops there, for they are what attract visitors, not concrete balls! There’s even a pizza cafe in the Guildhall, which used to be a meeting place for so many local groups in the town. It is, after all our town hall!

Regarding parking, there are indeed sufficient car parks and cars in a pedestrianised area can be dangerous. There are some disabled bays at the top of the High Street and able-bodied drivers should be able to walk from George Yard, Union Street or Town Mills!

Finally, the bus station, a white elephant if ever there was one.

I quote from a verse of my tongue in cheek song about what’s wrong with Andover, based on the old Tom Jones hit: “Though the new bus station can be seen, village buses are few and far between!

What’s happening to our green, green grass of home?”

Irene Williams Heath Vale, Andover

Comments (3)

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8:47am Sat 16 Aug 14

Albert's Uncle says...

I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Irene Williams on her points about the town.

One of the bigger culprits is TVBC and their total lack of imagination, innovation and enthusiasm for the town. Rather than kick starting any bold regeneration initiatives, we are continually presented with a series of hanging baskets and street planting, a collection of barely supported skeletal markets, and a series of pop up shops which are reducing an affluent Hampshire market town in to resembling more of a jumble sale!

Some of the residents are not much better. There is the Andover Rejuvenation group which is more of a forum of negativity and has actually failed to rejuvenate anything. Not to mention the UKIP fantasists who habitually turn to Tony Hooke as the saviour of the town!

Andover has a lot of assets; a generally affluent population; a relatively close proximity to London; a centralised location with excellent transport links; and a wealth of historic value. We also have a rapidly expanding population with much in the way of new housing development.

With all this in mind, Andover should not long to be what it was in its heyday, it should aspire to be even better. The town centre needs positive, sympathetic, redevelopment to create a cohesive and modern choice of retail and leisure, set against a backdrop of our many prized historic buildings; St Mary's Church; The Star and Garter; The Guildhall, and many others. The river Anton should be part of a waterside space for all to enjoy, not sneakily winding through the town being barely noticed.

The tragedy of what we have at the moment is that it really doesn't need to be this way! We have all the ingredients that we need to be a vibrant, interesting, and safe place to spend time. People should come from Basingstoke to Andover to spend time, not the other way round!

The key to Andover's success is not in our tired old Tory council, or our wanna be rejuvenators, or even in the UKIP revolutionists! A bright future for Andover will be brought about by an energetic, creative and talented team of people, capable of utilising the towns assets!
I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Irene Williams on her points about the town. One of the bigger culprits is TVBC and their total lack of imagination, innovation and enthusiasm for the town. Rather than kick starting any bold regeneration initiatives, we are continually presented with a series of hanging baskets and street planting, a collection of barely supported skeletal markets, and a series of pop up shops which are reducing an affluent Hampshire market town in to resembling more of a jumble sale! Some of the residents are not much better. There is the Andover Rejuvenation group which is more of a forum of negativity and has actually failed to rejuvenate anything. Not to mention the UKIP fantasists who habitually turn to Tony Hooke as the saviour of the town! Andover has a lot of assets; a generally affluent population; a relatively close proximity to London; a centralised location with excellent transport links; and a wealth of historic value. We also have a rapidly expanding population with much in the way of new housing development. With all this in mind, Andover should not long to be what it was in its heyday, it should aspire to be even better. The town centre needs positive, sympathetic, redevelopment to create a cohesive and modern choice of retail and leisure, set against a backdrop of our many prized historic buildings; St Mary's Church; The Star and Garter; The Guildhall, and many others. The river Anton should be part of a waterside space for all to enjoy, not sneakily winding through the town being barely noticed. The tragedy of what we have at the moment is that it really doesn't need to be this way! We have all the ingredients that we need to be a vibrant, interesting, and safe place to spend time. People should come from Basingstoke to Andover to spend time, not the other way round! The key to Andover's success is not in our tired old Tory council, or our wanna be rejuvenators, or even in the UKIP revolutionists! A bright future for Andover will be brought about by an energetic, creative and talented team of people, capable of utilising the towns assets! Albert's Uncle
  • Score: 9

6:51pm Mon 25 Aug 14

mandajin says...

Trouble is - anyone creative or bright is ushered to the side lines while conservative middle men stifle ideas. Too much control is what I see after being here for 6 years. No-one is brave enough to try a new approach. Potential leaders are handicapped by the political system. Community spirited & kind- hearted people like Tony Hooke are shoe-horned into a box - he wanted to help people but instead of being welcomed as part of a team of concerned people, he appears to have been a target for people who don't like UKIP. I don't think party politics serves us well - people should be valued on their individual merits rather than by which Herd of Sheep they have joined.
Trouble is - anyone creative or bright is ushered to the side lines while conservative middle men stifle ideas. Too much control is what I see after being here for 6 years. No-one is brave enough to try a new approach. Potential leaders are handicapped by the political system. Community spirited & kind- hearted people like Tony Hooke are shoe-horned into a box - he wanted to help people but instead of being welcomed as part of a team of concerned people, he appears to have been a target for people who don't like UKIP. I don't think party politics serves us well - people should be valued on their individual merits rather than by which Herd of Sheep they have joined. mandajin
  • Score: 0

5:00pm Sat 6 Sep 14

theoldun says...

I agree with everybody that has voiced concerns about the amount of houses going up around Andover, I am not that good with words but is it not time to start improving the town centre, maybe a couple of big department stores, they would I think go down a storm, all I see in Andover are betting shops, pubs banks, and charity shops come on lets do something to attract people to do, a proper shop here and not take their money to other Towns like Salisbury and Basingstoke, wouldn't it bring more money into the town as well. Come on get a grip please, we need it.
I agree with everybody that has voiced concerns about the amount of houses going up around Andover, I am not that good with words but is it not time to start improving the town centre, maybe a couple of big department stores, they would I think go down a storm, all I see in Andover are betting shops, pubs banks, and charity shops come on lets do something to attract people to do, a proper shop here and not take their money to other Towns like Salisbury and Basingstoke, wouldn't it bring more money into the town as well. Come on get a grip please, we need it. theoldun
  • Score: 0

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