A COUNCILLOR who has served the town for almost a decade has resigned from his position due to “a small number of councillors” making it “impossible” to continue in his role.

Councillor Andy Fitchet has announced his intention to stand down as a town councillor on Tuesday, October 1, having served on the authority since its inception in 2010.

In a letter explaining his decision to town mayor Cllr Richard Rowles and the town clerk he cited frustrations with “blockers” within the authority who have “decided to make it their job to stop progress at any cost”.

He wrote: “At the end of my life it is my theological conviction that I will have to give an account of my life.

“I have little want to say that I spent much time and energy arguing with a few members of Andover Town Council about meeting dates, protocol and whether they had any idea what they were doing.”

He continued: “Notwithstanding your considerable efforts, Mr Mayor, to push the Town Council forward, the blockers are sucking all the energy from the staff and the goodwill of many good councillors.

“I feel I will be able to make a better contribution to the community of Andover with my dog collar on rather than my Councillor badge.”

Cllr Fitchet, who is also a reverend with Picket Twenty Church and Bridge Street and St Andrews Methodist churches, was first elected to the town councillor nine-and-a-half years ago and served under three different administrations.

In the recent May elections he was one of just three councillors to keep his seat, and with two of those councillors’ wards being uncontested, he was the only councillor the electorate voted to keep on the authority.

Speaking to the Advertiser this week, he said: “I feel really guilty about not being able to serve my constituents, and for those who came out on that May morning and asked me to be their councillor again. I just hope the person who takes my place has more success in properly representing them.”

Cllr Fitchet has spoken of his pride at what the council has been able to achieve since starting up in 2010.

In his resignation letter, he pointed to the work former town mayor Cllr Barbara Long did on the planning committee to “change Andover for the better”.

Other achievements he singled out include the delivery of a “better and more personable” allotment service, the council’s work on events such as A-Fest and the Shilling Fair, grant funding which has allowed lifesaving defibrillators to be installed in the town, plus the funding of Andover’s LGBTQ+ youth group.

He told the Advertiser: “I am very proud of what I have achieved and what we have achieved over the last nine-and-a-half years.

“And I will look back on nearly all of that with great fondness. I’ve made some great friends who I treasure.

“Nine years of that was brilliant. The last six months were frustrating.”

As Cllr Fitchet says in his resignation letter, those frustrations were born out a feeling that little had been achieved by the council due to the actions of a small number of councillors.

In his letter, he added: “I can no longer try to defend the Town Council against accusations of being petty, ineffective and navel gazing, when currently I agree with these descriptions.”

However he stresses that there remains a role for the town council within the community.

He later told the Advertiser: “I think there is definitely a future for the town council.

“And my hope is that even in three-and-a-half years’ time, the council will be achieving far more than it currently is, and that members of the town, next time it comes to an election, think carefully about who they put in charge of their money.”