PLANS to revitalise the town centre have been supported by political parties across Andover.

The backing comes after Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) today (Friday) confirmed it had completed a £7.2million deal to buy the Chantry Centre outright.

Work will begin immediately to refurbish the toilets at the bus station and it is planned that the Chantry Centre car park opening hours will be extended.

Speaking about the purchase, current leader of the council Phil North said: “This is an incredibly important purchase for the council. I have made clear my aspiration to improve Andover – and full ownership of the Chantry Centre is essential in order for us to pursue our redevelopment plans.

“Due to commercial sensitivities we have been unable to talk about the Chantry Centre purchase until now and its link to the Cultural Quarter – where we also plan to redevelop the area around the magistrates court - providing a new theatre and eateries with outdoor seating.

“Joining these projects together is a once in a generation opportunity for the town which I’m determined to grab with both hands. The new riverside park at Town Mills will also play a vital role in the overall enhancement of the area.

“This is a project for the people of Andover to create an attractive and vibrant town centre.”

Political chiefs across the region have reacted to the news.


Andy Fitchet, chair of North West Hampshire Labour, said: “This has been a key part of Labour’s policy for the town centre for years. Since the town council was created in 2010 and had Labour members on it, they were pushing for Test Valley Borough Council to bring the Chantry Centre back into public ownership.

“We think it is a good step, we are pleased that this is happening, and the Tories have listened to what Labour said, like they did this with the temporary swimming pool."

Speaking about the party’s vision for the shopping complex, Mr Fitchet said: “We think that some of the units need to be expanded to allow for bigger retailers to come into the town and smaller units turned into space for local start-ups at reduced rent and rates to help start-ups find out whether they have a viable business.”

Andover Alliance

David Coole, Andover Alliance spokesperson said: “The Andover Alliance is delighted to hear the news that TVBC fully own the Chantry Centre and we congratulate our hard-working TVBC staff that made this happen.

“On the May 2 elections, we now need the residents of Andover and villages to vote in all our candidates at both TVBC and Andover Town Council, so that we can quickly implement our town centre regeneration plans, which can be found in our manifesto.

“The Andover Alliance is the only party in/around Andover that has candidates in every contested seat in the local elections. Everyone knows the regeneration of our town centre is long overdue and now the Andover Alliance is here and ready to implement it."

Liberal Democrats

Luigi Gregori, chair of Andover Liberal Democrats, said: "We welcome any move to breathe some fresh life and vigour into the Chantry Centre. Both retailers and shoppers have not been impressed with its slow decline.

"Commercial retail property is not a good investment in itself. We look forward to Test Valley's ideas on how to regenerate the town centre. A key part of this process should be extensive public engagement and consultation. We must not repeat the mistakes over the Andover Leisure Centre."