THE mayor has shut down Andover Town Council and placed five staff on leave amid concerns for their health.

The town’s council is currently not operating as all members of staff have been asked to take holiday.

The Advertiser understands that concerns have been raised about the mistreatment of the employees.

This is an extraordinary measure and means that currently the town council can’t operate to represent the public.

Richard Rowles, mayor of Andover, said: “The Town Council has engaged a locum clerk to act as the proper officer and to handle the statutory notices and other matters relating to the Extraordinary General Meeting the town mayor has called to address matters raised by a number of the Town Council’s staff.

“The EGM shall be held at the earliest opportunity, however there must be at least three clear days between notice of the meeting and the meeting itself.

“At this time the Town Council does not believe it is appropriate to make further comment.”

Sources said it is hoped the EGM will be held next Thursday to allow the town council to get up and running as soon as possible.

Currently, the authority is running at “limited capacity” with just one receptionist fielding calls. But with staff on leave, this means day-to-day business such as preparing for meetings, filing

planning applications and so on, can’t be processed as normal.

A source said they were concerned about the impact this would have on local democracy and the council’s ability to operate.

The Advertiser asked Test Valley Borough Council and the Local Government Association to comment but both refused.

Also in this week’s paper:

- Newest town councillor says he’s ‘here for the community’

- Andover's businesses support struggling families

- 25-year-old entrepreneur discusses starting a multi-million pound business in Picket Piece

- Andover-raised police officer sentenced for lover’s manslaughter

- Car involved in catalytic converter thefts identified

- LGBTQ+ worker discusses their journey

- Charity calls for poppy pebbles for remembrance

- Andover Town held level against Hythe & Dibden

- Two pages of YOUR letters

- And much, much more

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