A STORM in a teacup has passed during the first meeting of Andover Town Council since the elections earlier this month.

On Thursday last week, members were asked to vote on taking £1,000 out of the authority’s new building fund to spend on putting on tea, coffee and biscuits for councillors and members of the public during meetings.

The motion was championed by Andover Alliance Councillor David Coole, who said: “Mr Mayor I don’t know how many times you have spoken at Test Valley Borough Council planning meetings, [or] any other meetings, I can tell you I have and what impresses me the borough council level is the hospitality showed towards the general public.

“It is on the tax payers’ money they are using…and it is nice to feel welcome at these committees and to go in, you can have your water, you can have your coffee and then to have some biscuits. There is no fee, there is no charge, any member of public whether you live in Andover or outside of Test Valley, if you are visiting as a public member and as sitting councillors you are entitled to have this free tea, coffee, biscuits, whatever.”

Independent councillor Andy Fitchet said the council should compare its £320,000 annual budget to the borough authority’s £70 million reserves, and suggested there might be a “difference of the variance of grandeur” expected by meeting attendees.

Cllr Victoria Thorpe proposed the motion should be scrapped, with deputy mayor Cllr Lauren Banville proposing a £100 budget, which was seconded by mayor Cllr Richard Rowles.

But Cllr Coole said: “I think we should be proud of our own local people. We should offer the same facility at our town council meeting.”

However, Cllr Coole said he was happy to vote for £100 if it was “sufficient” and if “we find we run out I would be looking for further vote to increase the hospitality.

The motion was passed to allow for £100 to be spent on ‘hospitality’ over the next year.