Police to tackle street begging — FEARS that begging is on the rise across Andover, leaving people feeling “intimidated”, has seen an operation launched to tackle the issue.

Members of Andover Town Council have been hearing concerns from residents about begging and anti-social behaviour in recent months, with police this week telling the public not to hand over money.

Town mayor Councillor Barbara Long said: “I have heard from a number of young people who have gone through the alleyways who have felt intimidated to walk past because people are sitting there and they have got begging bowls out.

“If they are sat there begging then why aren’t they being moved on? That doesn’t seem to be happening in Andover.”

Cllr Long added that she has been told there are some who are begging in the town centre who are not homeless and have somewhere to go.

Police say that there will now be an operation carried out by officers in the town in a bid to alleviate the fears of people.

Grandmother uses knitting skills to help air ambulance - A GRANDMOTHER armed with her knitting needles has taken inspiration from the Andover Advertiser to help the air ambulance.

Eve Simpson, from Westfield Court retirement development, in Andover, spotted an article in the paper on June 1 about 90-year-old skydiver Stanley Full, and wanted to help the charity in her own way.

She said: “The work done by all air ambulance teams across the country is astounding and when I saw the article in the paper I thought ‘how can I help?’ So I picked up my knitting needles. I ran out of yellow wool but had plenty of orange which is when I was inspired to knit the dolls.”

Using the photograph from the paper and a search of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance’s (HIOWAA) website 88-year-old Eve knitted three dolls in just 12 days.

It’s carnival time — Thousands of residents enjoy huge town celebration saved from the brink of cancellation — AN OLD town tradition on the brink of cancellation pulled out all the stops on Sunday to celebrate the best of the community in full festival fashion.

Organisers of Andover Carnival put up a fight when it faced financial difficulties at the beginning of the year, but the community and businesses rallied around to make sure the show could go on.

Families, young and old turned out for the occasion with the funday hailed a success by the carnival committee, with proceeds donated to Andover’s MS Society and Icknield School.

Town’s first cycling festival a hit — PEDALS were pushed as more than 200 riders turned out for Andover’s first ever cycling festival.

The town centre and Guildhall transformed into an “interactive cycling village” on Sunday as 224 cyclists pedalled out of the centre into leafy terrain surrounding the town.


£4.2m loss for charity in ‘challenging year’ — A DISABILITY charity has reported a loss of more than £4.2million in its most recent accounts.

The Enham Trust reported in the financial year up to March 31, 2017 it suffered “another challenging year”.

In its annual report, published by the Charity Commission, it announced a deficit of £4,212,000 compared to the previous year’s loss of over £1.5million.

Whilst the charity’s income was just over £12.4million, it was spending over £16.6million, with much of its outgoings on the running of its buildings and offices.

For the deficit, the organisation blamed operational losses and a breach of lender’s covenants - a condition on a loan - which forced it to pause the first phase of the Cedar Park development at Enham Alamein.

As previously reported in the Advertiser, the build of the £3 million 14 bed neurological rehabilitation unit was stopped in February 2017 due to a shortfall in funding.

The delay has caused the charity a loss of £2.8million on the value of works, but chief executive Heath Gunn said that the development and other new projects “still sit within the long-term strategy of Enham”.

As for staff, the trust carried out a restructuring since January 2017 with the number of people employed full-time dropping from 387 to 245.

Chef’s £8k loss as deal collapses — A RETIRED army chef is devastated at losing his pension money in a new business venture which has gone wrong.

Tony Beckett has spent the past 10 years dreaming of opening his own restaurant and was delighted to find suitable premises in Andover, at the former George Inn site in George Yard.

But the 49-year-old father-of-four claims the landlords of the building, Faucet Inns, refused to pay to install utilities such as electrics and water.

Tony, who also has two step-children, told the Advertiser: “They pulled the rug from under my feet by refusing to pay to put in utilities into the building. It is their building and their responsibility.”

The chef has lost around £8,000 of his pension and said: “It’s been a massive learning curve. I became emotionally involved, but I have been planning this for about 10 years.

“It’s always been my dream to do this when I retired from the army.”

‘Disgusted’ at graffiti attacks — A COMMUNITY has been left “disgusted and disappointed” after a graffiti was sprayed on a church and a war memorial.

The attacks on St Mary’s Church and another on a commemorative water fountain in Andover town centre took place last week.

In one of the incidents at the church in Marlborough Street, which is believed to have taken place between August 8 and early hours of August 10, the anarchist symbol was painted on the church door.

And a 666 - said to be devil’s number - was blazoned in red on the steps outside of the door. Church warden Gordon Bell said: “To say it was shocking would be a bit strong, I am just disappointed that people thought it would be fun to desecrate a church.”

But to Mr Bell’s surprise, a kind stranger had cleaned off the graffiti before the wardens had the opportunity.

Home buyers hit out at ‘farcical’ scheme — HOME buyers at Picket Twenty are speaking out against the leasehold system they believe they have been trapped in.

Residents who bought leaseholds from housing developer Persimmon Homes are warning others of the pitfalls after bad experiences of their own.

Leasehold properties are owned for a fixed-time period and the landlord, also known as the freeholder, often charges a ‘ground rent’ fee as a condition of the lease.

Occupants must also make payments to a contractor for the property’s upkeep.

One Picket Twenty Way leaseholder, Kevin Brown, purchased his lease in 2014 and, since a break up with his long-term partner, has been trying to sell the property on.

The father-of-one said:

“I feel stupid and naïve, but at the time I was sold a dream for a new start for my family, owning our own home.”

A resident at The Paddocks, Angela Dewey, claimed during the purchase of her new three-bedroom home it was not made clear it was a leasehold property until the process had already begun.


‘Bike helmet saved my life’ — “I WOULD be dead or seriously injured and in a vegetative state if it wasn’t for my helmet.”

These are the words of an Andover man after he was caught up in a collision while racing his bicycle and skidded for 50 metres, bleeding, across tarmac.

John Penfound, of St Swithin Way, is still recovering after the accident in a race at Thruxton circuit on August 14 when he was leant into by another rider and the pair became tangled.

John’s bike collapsed and his helmeted head hit the tarmac.

“I went down and my head smacked the tarmac and I just began to slide – the paramedics reckon I must have slid about 50 metres on my head.”

The computer hardware engineer was treated by paramedics before being taken to Basingstoke hospital.

“They said to me without that helmet you would have died, or the impact of the skid would have caused your skull to have been worn away.”

Car ploughs into music venue - MUSIC venue chiefs are facing a damages bill of thousands of pounds after a driver crashed their vehicle into the side of the building.

Billy Duffy and Dan Wardrop had just finished their shift at the bar when the incident happened.

Billy said: “Before I could finish my sentence [they] accelerated and missed me and Dan by about a foot. We were both shocked that [they’d] actually done it, I didn’t move while they were driving forward because I truly thought they were just making an empty threat, but they weren’t.”

The bill to repair damage to a set of railings, signs and the exterior wall of the listed building is estimated to be around £6,000.

Do not give out change call — SHOPPERS are being urged not to give money to people begging in the town centre as it could stop them from getting help, according to the borough council.

Test Valley Borough Council has issued the advice following reports of rough sleepers in Andover town centre, and as it continues its campaign to tackle homelessness.

Housing and environmental health portfolio holder, Councillor Phil Bundy said: “Unfortunately, the generosity and goodwill of members of the public can hamper efforts being made by local agencies to persuade people to move off the streets and come inside. Giving money directly to rough sleepers can sustain and prolong the problem and make them less likely to accept help from the local agencies, which has consequences for both their physical and mental health.”

Poor state of health — PATIENT safety and dignity, including for children, are among the major issues raised by the health watchdog about hospitals across north Hampshire.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has ordered the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester, to improve standards in a number of areas as a matter of urgency.

After an inspection carried out between June and July this year, six conditions covering where the trust needs to improve to meet the watchdog’s standards have been imposed. Overall, the CQC has rated the trust as ‘requires improvement’, though the body retained an ‘outstanding’ rating for end-of-life care.

Hampshire Hospitals has said that it recognises the issues the CQC has raised and is already working to remedy them.


Police carry out anti-knife operation — WEAPONS have been found in a week of action against knife crime in Andover by Hampshire Constabulary.

The work was being done as part of Operation Sceptre, a national campaign aiming to take knives off the streets and educate people about the dangers associated with them.

Officers in Andover supported the campaign by targeting known hot spots in the town for knife-related crime, conducting a knife-sweep at the Roman Way playing field and carrying out stop and searches throughout the course of the operation.

During their search of the Roman Way playing field, which took place on Saturday, September 22, officers seized objects including several metal poles that were found in the undergrowth.

Advertiser investigates the issue of domestic abuse — “THERE were rules that were never really said. I broke them a lot but I didn’t know what they were, didn’t even know that I could.”

A victim of domestic abuse has spoken about her journey to a fresh start as the Advertiser explores the issue in Andover and looks at the work of the people who are changing the lives of survivors and their children.

In total in 2017, there were 19,110 domestic abuse cases reported to police in Hampshire — that figure has increased by 1,235 per cent since 2012.

Andover Crisis and Support Centre is at the forefront of the support network available to victims in the town and beyond as it aims to be at the heart of the community.

Centre staff helped nearly 1,500 women, children and men from April 2017 to March 2018.

Decision time — Vote opens over new plan for town centre — VOTING starts today for an issue which will either give the town centre a much-needed boost, or add an unnecessary strain on local businesses, depending on your point of view.

It is crunch time for businesses over whether or not to introduce a Business Improvement District (BID) to Andover town centre, a decision which was half-jokingly dubbed ‘more contentious than Brexit’.

The initiative has been in the pipeline for the past year, but the heat was turned up over the summer as clashing views over how prosperous it would be for the town saw the establishment of a ‘No’ campaign.

Delivery of ‘Bad News’ — SHOCK has surrounded the announcement that Andover’s Post Office could be relocated.

The Post Office announced on Thursday last week the Bridge Street branch could be one of 40 stores nationwide to be franchised to WHSmith in 2019, and so move into the High Street outlet, in efforts to make the business more sustainable.

Businesses and town leaders have expressed surprise at the decision proposed for the “always busy” Bridge Street branch.

However, the Post Office cites successful franchise operations in other areas as proof services are maintained.

Night to recognise our unsung heroes — IT WAS a night of celebration when hundreds of people gathered to recognise the inspiring and selfless actions of the town’s unsung heroes.

Now in its 12th year, the Pride of Andover Awards ceremony took place at The Lights on Wednesday night and proved to be a memorable occasion.

The night was orchestrated by BBC South Today’s Sally Taylor who presented to an audience of 200 individuals and business leaders from across Andover.

The winners received accolades for their passion and hard work which has made a positive difference to the town.


‘Amazing’ £25k boost for foodbank — ANDOVER Foodbank will be able to support more people in need thanks to a huge funding boost.

The foodbank, which is headquartered in Alexandra Road, has been awarded a £25,000 grant from Test Valley Borough Council.

The money will help the charity increase its storage capacity, and so be able to meet the needs of more residents.

BID gets the green light - by a handful of votes — THE green light has been given for a Business Improvement District (BID) to be launched in the town - but many who voted against the scheme are unhappy.

The month-long poll closed on November 8 and saw 51.1per cent vote in favour of the BID, with 70 votes cast backing the initiative and 67 against.

But there has been backlash from those who are against the scheme with many airing irritation about Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) being able to cast 13 votes, with others concerned about the strain of paying the levy which could impact their business.

As a result of the yes vote, the BID will come into force in April 2019 and will run for a period of five years until 2024.

Life sentence for murderer -‘TWO families have both lost their sons’.

That is the message from police after a drug dealer was sentenced to life behind bars for the murder of a rival in an Andover alleyway.

Zandrae Smith, 21, was found guilty of the murder of Londoner Tommy Ferris, who was stabbed to death in an alley off Smannell Road in the early hours of April 13, 2018.

Smith was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The prosecution argued the stabbing was for revenge, to get back at Mr Ferris who had just robbed Smith of his belongings.

A victim impact statement from Mr Ferris’s partner was read to the court, and expressed the heartbreak of losing her teenage sweetheart, both for her and their five-year-old daughter.

‘Axe tax unfair to town’ — ANDOVER residents are being forced to pay an ‘unfair tax’ which needs to be axed.

That is the call from Andover town councillors who are considering legal action in their bid to axe the Andover Special Levy which raises around £300,000 a year for Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

The levy is currently an extra £21.88 charge, for Band D properties, paid by residents in the parish of Andover on top of their usual council tax bill, and is used to pay for services such as cemeteries, playground maintenance and outdoor sports facilities in Andover.

However, some of these facilities are not solely used by those who pay for it - the Andover parish residents.

But after years of talks and trying a number of “collaborative approaches” with the borough authority, the town council, in a bid to scrap the levy, has instructed lawyers.

‘Use or lose them’ — SHOPPERS are being urged to use small businesses in the run-up to a day dedicated to local entrepreneurs.

Small Business Saturday took place on December 1 to recognise those who work hard to provide goods and services for the town.

And MP for North West Hampshire Kit Malthouse has issued a rallying cry for shoppers to use small firms or lose them.


Council’s call on Brexit vote — ‘No fluffy unicorns’ in deal on offer — ANDOVER Town Council is calling on the government to abandon plans for a hard Brexit and give voters a say on a final deal.

After a heated debate at the town council’s full meeting, a majority of members backed the bid and now will inform the prime minister and Andover MP Kit Malthouse of their position on the issue.

The motion was brought to the table by People’s Vote campaigner Councillor Len Gates and Cllr Geoff McBride.

Cllr Gates told members: “The future facing this country is very different from the promises of two years ago. There is no pot of gold, nor any fluffy unicorns. The impending reality is a very different country to the one we all know.

Empty unit ‘frustration’ — No progress on M&S site — EIGHT months has passed and still there is no update on the future of the boarded-up Marks and Spencer unit in High Street.

What was the town’s sole department store has been left empty since April, but the nationwide retailer continues to remain silent on any progress to find a replacement tenant. Marks and Spencer’s leasehold on 58 High Street will continue until March 31, 2027.

When contacted by the Advertiser, an M&S spokesperson said: “We are continuing to market the property in Andover, and we will update the community on this when we can.”

The statement comes four months after community group Our Andover enquired about using the space for an emporium and was told that M&S was in “advanced talks with a major retailer”.

Our Andover director David Coole said:

“It is really quite tragic that the M&S premises still remain empty after all these months.

“The residents of Andover have been loyal supporters of M&S for 81 years and it would be wonderful if M&S could now give something back to them.”

When contacted by the Advertiser over this information an M&S spokesperson said there were “no updates” at this time.