As councillors prepare to vote on whether to approve the Andover Masterplan this evening (September 28), the Advertiser can reveal just how much the council has spent on creating it.

The plans, which involve the Chantry Centre being demolished, new parkland and a new college campus, come to a £83,936 payday for architects Hemingway Design, along with their partners NEW Masterplanning.

This price comes on the upper end of Test Valley Borough Council’s tender for the town centre, which was set at £85,000, with a lower limit of £75,000.

This price also puts the Andover Masterplan contract on the upper end of similar contracts for masterplans taken out by other councils around the country.

By looking at eleven similar tenders placed over the past year, the Advertiser calculated that the average price paid was £74,382.91, just under £10,000 less than TVBC paid. This places Andover’s masterplan at 4th on the list.

Some councils paid substantially less than TVBC, with Folkestone and Hythe District Council paying just £30,000 for “architectural services expertise to assist in the production of a masterplan for Folkestone Town Centre.”

However, TVBC have saved money relative to others, such as Hartlepool Borough Council, which has forked out £145,045 “for the appointment of a multi-disciplinary team to develop a Masterplan that renews and reshapes Hartlepool Town Centre.”

Looking at these plans can also allow estimates for the cost of construction for Andover’s masterplan. In Hailsham, where Wealden District Council has also bought a shopping centre, Vicarage Fields, in the heart of town, costs of up to £100 million are estimated for the work.

Leader of TVBC, Councillor Phil North, said: “We are extremely excited by the plans for the future of Andover, and from the overwhelmingly positive responses we've received, it seems the town is too. HemingwayDesign and NEW masterplanning are renowned for what they do, and we believe this has shone through with the quality of their work.

“A masterplan for our future is not something to be rushed and requires time, expertise, and expense. Every masterplan is different depending on the location and circumstances – and therefore the costs will be, too. We thoroughly believe our investment in this process has provided value for money and are grateful for the comprehensive work that has been undertaken over the past year - including significant public consultation.

“When the council first published the project, more than 80 expressions of interest were submitted, with more than 30 applications. A thorough, rigorous tender process was conducted before the masterplanners were appointed, and we wholeheartedly believe the right choice was made in doing so.”