ANDOVER High Street has been named one of the best in Britain for the second year running – but more than three quarters of residents disagree, according to an exclusive Advertiser poll.

Andover once again featured in this year’s Great British High Street competition, finishing in the top five high streets in the large market town category.

The town finished behind Bridgnorth, Shropshire, and Hinckley and Market Harborough, both in Leicestershire, who will battle it out in a public vote to be named Britain’s best high street.

It is the second consecutive year that Andover has featured in the awards, after appearing alongside the likes of Altrincham, Tamworth, and last year’s winner Rotherham in the 2015 best town centre category.

While Andover is the only town to return to the top five in this year’s list, the news of Andover’s success was met with a swathe of criticism on social media after being announced on our website this week.

Hundreds of comments were submitted on Facebook with complaints ranging from a lack of shopping, to comments about the tidiness of the town.

Several residents jumped to Andover’s defence, pointing out that the town had a wide variety of independent retailers and praising the town’s appearance.

But when asked in an online poll if residents agreed with the result, a staggering 77 per cent of those who responded disagreed with the decision.

In the first 12 hours more than 400 votes were cast, with less than 100 agreeing with Andover’s lofty place among Britain’s best high streets.

Despite this, judges of the Great British High Street competition, which is run by the Department for Communities and Local Government, were wildly impressed by Andover’s high street.

High Streets Minister, Andrew Percy MP, said: “Andover demonstrated many of the things we were looking for: A commitment to revitalising the high street as a unique place for living, working and shopping.

“Andover just missed out on the public vote this year but can take great pride in reaching the final five and being named one of Britain’s best high streets.”

Town centre manager Chris Gregory was thrilled with the result.

He said:”We are delighted because after last year we didn’t think for one minute we would get in the top five again.

“I think it is a testament to all of the hard work that businesses and other people put into the town.

“We are very flattered.”

Andover Business owners show support for High Street

Andover Advertiser:

(David Mellor and daughter Amy outside of their Waterloo Court store)

“BE proud of your town”.

That is the rallying cry from several Andover business owners who believe more residents should love their town.

The hard hitting message comes after dozens of people took to social media to berate Andover’s retail offering, following news that the High Street had been nominated as one of the best in Britain.

Here are the views of some of Andover’s independent retailers:

Dave Stanbridge - Tip Top Balloons

Should people be proud of the town?: “Yes absolutely. It’s a cracking little town. There are plenty of independent retailers as well as the larger stores.

Andover Advertiser:

Obviously we have got something otherwise we wouldn’t be winning these awards.”

Why do you think some people are not proud of Andover: “I don’t know if other people in other towns and cities feel that their towns are rubbish too - that would be interesting to find out.

I think maybe it is down to size.

People try and compare Andover to somewhere like Basingstoke which is much bigger. But we still have an awful lot here.”

David Mellor - David Mellor Family Jewellers

Should people be proud of the town: “Yes definitely, there is no reason to think differently.

Andover is a brilliant town. It’s still busy in terms of people using the town centre shops and there are lots of independent retailers. There are many traders that are proud to trade in this town.”

Why do you think some people are not proud of Andover: “I think it’s the minority.”

Amy Mellor: “I think Andover is a town to be proud of.

“I think if you go to a bigger town like Basingstoke and go to their high street it’s almost exactly the same as somewhere like Southampton. Andover has something different.”

Your view

We asked for your view on Facebook when the story broke online - Here is what some of our readers had to say:


Chris Holmes said: “Having lived in a city and travelled to many towns, Andover is pretty good, ample parking, free after 4pm and has most shops you need if you’re looking to pick something up in a hurry.”

Ann McMillan: “I live in Basingstoke.Yet my friend and I love coming to Andover shopping every couple of weeks. Very pretty high street.”

Simon Newman: “I kind of agree, we have a vibrant market twice a week and quite a few independent shops. C&M DIY, Lone Fairy, Heavenly Sweets, Globe Galleries, Pennies Wool Shop, Lucy’s Kitchen, Double Discount Stores and David Mellor’s just to name a few there are many more I haven’t listed and many other chain shops.

“Yes we do need some larger chain stores and clothing stores but for the shops we actually have here in Andover we have a large variety of small independent shops that service our community very very well.”


Wayne McGregor: “Sorry I disagree, although I love my town there is very little in the way of high street shopping for men and children.

“It’s awesome if you like coffee, betting and mobile phones but that’s all.”

Becky Keets: “I’ve just moved to Andover and there’s not much there. Like others are saying it’s more coffee shops, phone shops and betting.

“My home town, Poole and sometimes Bournemouth, have a good high street and shopping centre.”

Emma-Leigh Rahman: “What a complete joke! Really? This town is made up of charity shops, phone shops and coffee shops.

Where are we suppose to shop?”

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