PLANS to plug Andover’s two-year gap in swimming facilities moved a step closer last week, as councillors rubber stamped proposals for a temporary pool.

Members of the Northern Area Planning Committee took 20 minutes to green light the proposals, at an uncontroversial meeting held at Andover Guildhall last Thursday.

Councillors were supportive of the pop-up pool, which is due to be built on part of Shepherds Spring Lane Car Park, pictured, in time for an end-of-August opening.

By that time Andover will have been without a public swimming facility for five months, following the closure of Andover Leisure Centre’s pool at the beginning of April.

The 25-metre pool is due to stay open for a period of 23 months, by which time it is hoped the new Andover Leisure Centre pool will be up and running.

Millway Ward’s Jim Neal was one of the councillors who gave his approval to the proposal.

He said: “I’m very much in favour of having this during the time the current pool is closed.

“To leave the town without a swimming pool is totally unacceptable.

“If needs be we can keep it forever.”

The only major topic of debate at last Thursday’s meeting came over opening hours. Representatives from Andover Swimming and Waterpolo Club addressed councillors at the meeting to ask them to consider extending the proposed opening times.

Club secretary, Paul Goddard, requested councillors approve a 7am start, rather than the proposed 7.30am opening, to accommodate for early morning swimmers.

He also asked councillors for 9.30pm finishes on weekends, to allow the club to hold competitions.

However the extended hours caused some debate among some councillors, including Sandra Hawke, who raised concerns for residents in nearby apartments.

The Millway councillor said she thought the extra hours would be “unfair” on residents and raised particular issue with the added weekend times.

Councillor Carl Borg-Neal subsequently offered a compromise, asking that the added weekend hours could be applied just 10 times a year - in accordance with the club’s competitions.

Councillors agreed to the proposals, before passing through the full application for the temporary pool.

After the meeting, Andy Fitchet, who originally set up a petition for a temporary pool, was thrilled with the result.

He said: “I am delighted that our petition was successful and that Andover will not be left without a swimming pool for two years.

“Thanks to the Advertiser raising awareness of the plans we have been able to force Test Valley to listen to residents.”