A redeveloped Chantry Centre, miles of new parkland, and new housing are among the many proposals Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) has to transform Andover.

The long-awaited masterplan for Andover’s town centre has been released, identifying the many changes the council is planning to bring to the town centre, which has been divided into a series of quarters.

Chief among these are the plans for the Chantry Centre Quarter, which will see the eponymous centre, described as a “block” by Paul Jackson, head of Planning and Building at TVBC, demolished. It will be replaced by new shops, offices and apartments, while historic streets will be reinstated to improve connectivity throughout the town.

As previously reported, The Lights theatre will also move to this quarter, creating a “bustling new square,” while TVBC intends to bring housing into the heart of the town, which Councillor Phil North, TVBC Leader, told The Advertiser was a “key change in making the town centre more vibrant.”

Nearby, the River Anton Quarter will connect the new Town Mills riverside park all the way up to Andover College by a long, continuous section of parkland alongside the River Anton. To achieve this, Western Avenue, described as “a stranglehold on the town centre” by developers, will be vastly reduced to a single section of two-lane road, allowing the public access to the river. There will also be improved links to the train station, with the current “daunting” underpass replaced with a road crossing.

This crossing will connect to the new Wellbeing Quarter, with a new hotel proposed to take the place of the former Magistrates court. The old home of The Lights will be demolished to make way for a new campus for Andover College, with green space connecting the area to St Mary’s Church and beyond, Vigo Park, where the roundabout and subway will be removed.

There will also be a number of changes to the east of the town centre, with new shops and homes around Union Street, while George Yard car park will be improved.

Cllr North said: “This is a truly incredible day for the town and I am so excited to finally be able to share our plans for the future of Andover. This is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been involved with this project, including all those who took the time to respond to the surveys and in particular the amazing teams at HemingwayDesign and NEW masterplanning for sharing my passion and vision for the town and believing in its potential.

“Town centres are changing. They are becoming more of a place for leisure and living as well as retail – and everyone’s efforts have helped create a plan to ensure Andover town centre is fit for the future.

“Of course, the hard work doesn’t end here, rather this marks the beginning of a huge project to create a new era for Andover - and our next step will be to identify a developer partner, or an alternative delivery mechanism, to bring these plans to life.

“We’re living in extraordinary times but I firmly believe that regeneration remains the key to recovery and I am absolutely committed to taking this forward as quickly as possible.”

The plans, which have been in development for a year, will now be submitted to TVBC to be considered on September 28.

Should they pass, the council will then begin consultations with potential funding and development partners. While they may undertake some small projects in the near future, the whole project is expected to take at least a decade to complete, with the project occurring in phases to minimise disruption to businesses in the town centre.

The masterplan and flythroughs, which enable viewers to step into the future and take a look around the new town centre, are available at www.thinkandovertowncentre.co.uk