The leader of Test Valley Borough Council has said that they have “ got to deliver” the Andover Masterplan, as it was adopted by TVBC tonight (September 28).

Cllr Phil North hailed the plans as “exciting,” and added that it was “incumbent” on TVBC and other local authorities “to respond and make our town centres fit for the future.”

Addressing the rest of councillors before the vote, he said: “I would be incredibly grateful for all of your support.”

Cllr Mark Cooper, Deputy Mayor of TVBC, said that the masterplan was “impressive by its completeness and vision.”

Referring to the Buchanan Report, which dedicated large amounts of town space to roads and car parks, he said: “Andover’s current layout is based on Buchanan’s model where the car is king and one third of the urban space is highway. Young Town Planners, such as myself, were either pro- or anti-Buchanan. I’d like to think I was on the anti side... and it’s really satisfactory to see the Council move forward on the de-Buchananisation of Andover.

"It’s a huge step to restoring the Town Centre to a quality, human scale environment in which residents wish to congregate rather than just ‘dash and go’. The town's urban spaces, which have taken more than 1,000 years to evolve, are now to be restored and the concrete and steel of the 1960's and 1970's are to be pushed back."

Cllr Nick Matthews joined him in his praise, saying that the plans having come to fruition was “fabulous, adding: “The requirement to move with the times and give Andover some much-needed TLC and a facelift is clearly appropriate.”

He said that the regeneration would help draw businesses and footfall, and paraphrased a line from the 1989 film Field of Dreams by saying “build it, and they will come.”

Cllr Christopher Ecclestone made a number of comments on the proposals, querying how the buildings that would replace the Chantry Centre would comply with the conservation restrictions that surround Andover’s Guildhall. He said that the proposed link between the leisure centre and the church was a “non-existent vector of traffic and parallels Chantry Street only 50ft to the south.”

He called for the Marlborough Street car park to be redeveloped for housing, and mentioned the opportunity for a new building or buildings on the site of the current Sainsbury’s shop, which is set to be vacated by the supermarket.

Cllr North responded to concerns about the new link, saying that “it’s not a route at the moment because of the Simplyhealth building in the way.”

Cllr John Parker, while fully supporting the project, asked if TVBC’s finances are “likely to be in a strong enough position to do this, given that developer contributions may only be forthcoming later in the program?”

This note of caution was echoed by Cllr Alan Dowden, who said that people should not expect the plans to be rushed. “This is a long term process, it’s not going to happen overnight. If you excite people too much, they expect it to be done next year.”

The Masterplan, which cost £83,936 to produce, was then passed with no dissent without requiring a vote.