REVITALISING the Chantry Centre is at the top of Andover residents’ wish lists, according to the results of a recent survey.

This includes the provision of a new public space for events and markets and flexible space for independents traders, while people also say that making the town “social and inclusive” is seen as a top priority.

These views were captured after a public exhibition held in Bridge Street in December, in which visitors were presented with the “emerging vision” that will inform the masterplan to rejuvenate Andover’s town centre.

Attendees were then asked to complete feedback forms or fill in online questionnaires, the results of which have now been published by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

A total of 534 people provided feedback. That’s significantly fewer than the 3,000 people who completed an initial public survey back in 2019 and the 1,100 people who shared their views on the emerging vision for the future of the town across December and January.

But the views of those who did complete this latest survey were heard loud and clear, with 64 per cent saying the revitalisation of the Chantry Centre was an “essential” priority.

Almost half of those respondents called for flexible space for independent traders (48 per cent) and a new public space for events and markets (47 per cent).

Other suggestions included “eating, relaxing and meeting spaces” as well as a food court, creative spaces and activities for families and young people. Support for existing tenants of the centre and reduced business rates for small independents were also recommended.

Respondents, however, were less enthusiastic about other elements of the masterplan’s emerging vision. One in four said that the removal of underpasses is “unnecessary” while only 28 per cent viewed “transforming Western Avenue” as a priority – a project for which work is already well underway.

The leader of TVBC has thanked the hundreds of residents who shared their views on the plans to rejuvenate Andover’s town centre.

Councillor Phil North said: “Despite the unprecedented times that we have found ourselves in over the past few months, we are continuing to progress with developing the masterplan for Andover town centre.

“I would like to thank all of the people who took the time to engage with the proposals during our latest consultation, their input has been essential in helping to steer the vision for the town.

“Regeneration is the key to recovery and as the High Street opens up again, this poses a very exciting future leading to a new era for Andover.”