A FORMER Liberal Democrat chief who has left the party to put ‘local people before national politics’ says he is gaining headway in support for a new local campaign.

Richard Rowles, former Test Valley chair of the Liberal Democrats resigned last week out of his frustration at party policies and created the ‘Andover Alliance’.

The 42-year-old called a meeting outside the Guildhall on Monday to rally support for a ‘new dawn in Andover’ with 14 people coming along to find out more about the movement.

Cllr Rowles said: “All I did was put a little video online first thing in the morning and I was blown away when so many people turned up that care about our town.

“If we can achieve this in one day imagine what we can all do if we pull together before the next election.”

Cllr Rowles will stand as an independent in next year’s borough and town council elections and is creating a manifesto with a fully-funded youth service “high on the agenda.”

A more detailed statement of policies will be released section by section in the coming months.

One Liberal Democrat however who has decided to remain with the party said she has always put local people before national politics.

Town councillor Katherine Bird said: “To me being a Lib Dem is putting residents first and it is about promoting what’s best for the town.

“I am very happy to go on the town council without a political allegiance which the party have always supported and worked all year round for the residents.

“I have never been in a situation where the party has wanted to influence how I vote and act.”

Cllr Bird also pointed to the Andover Alliance echoing the move of ‘Andover says NO to party politics’ - a stand made by eight town councillors in the 2015 election who campaigned not standing with any political parties.

To find out more about the Andover Alliance, contact Richard at richard@rowles.co.uk or search Andover Alliance on Facebook.