Following Test Valley Borough Council’s approval of a sweeping development that will transform the town centre, the Advertiser sat down with MP for North West Hampshire Kit Malthouse for his thoughts.

The plans, among other things include large pedestrian area, the beautification of town centre features and a replacement for the Chantry Centre. 

Despite the look of the plans on paper, the response from the public has been cautious at best.

Kit said: “The development appraisal is tight but it looks perfectly feasible. 
“The council made a big investment a couple of years ago when the bought the other half of the Chantry Centre, so they now own all of it. 

“Within the development there is quite a lot of housing, which is great as you need more people in the town centre. The housing, effectively, is what helps to pay for the development.”

He added: “It is a large development, absolutely, but it gives you quite a bit of scope to build stuff that will create income. 

“You have to hope there will be quite a bit of income coming from shops and offices. I think they have done their maths and it comes out on the right side. I’m optimistic.”

One thing Kit is sure on are finances, having trained as a chartered accountant and still owns an accountancy firm but works as a fulltime MP. Andover, along with the rest of his North West Hampshire constituency, voted almost in line with the UK when it came to Brexit, with a slight preference for leaving. 

The future of the country after January 1 is unknown with many important sectors, including agriculture, a large employer in the area, forecast to struggle at least in the short term.

“Brexit was always going to be hard, and I think, to a certain extent during the referendum campaign people talked a lot about the positives of Brexit, I was a Brexit voter. 

“But there was always going to be change and change cam sometimes be difficult but in the end it’s worth it.

“I can walk down the street and people of Andover can grab me by the lapels and tell me what’s going wrong in Andover. I can then go and talk directly to the secretary of state or the prime minister and say you need to change this. 

He adds: “The idea that the president of the EU is going to care about Andover, or that I could communicate it to him is mad.”