Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) has responded to concerns that it would “flaunt” conservation rules in the Riverside Walk park.

Councillor Christopher Ecclestone asked the council if it could “assure councillors and residents of Andover that it will not flaunt the rules of the conservation area when it comes to the fittings, pavings and accoutrements of the Riverside Walk project.”

Concerns had been raised regarding the street furniture intended for the site by the councillor, such as benches, which he said was not “historically appropriate.”

However, Cllr Nick Adams-King, TVBC’s planning portfolio holder, said that “it is not at all clear” what being compliant with the spirit of the conservation area rules meant.

He said: “I can confirm is that the proposed development was given very careful consideration by officers and members of the council, with the conservation officer of the council confirming that the proposed development will improve the character of the area around town mills and the proposed park would be an attractive addition to the town. It would also enhance the setting of the listed buildings and the appearance of the conservation area.

He said that there will “always be subjectivity when considering design,” and added: “Our conservation officers are highly qualified professionals, very well experienced in their field. With respect, the councillor is not. Whilst he might not like a design that is purely his opinion. The opinion of our professional experienced officers is that they considered the development acceptable.”

Following the meeting, Cllr Ecclestone said that the answers were “woolly” and “failed to address the issue that the approved documents on the development have contradictory plans.”

Work to create the Town Mills Riverside Park began on Monday, October 12, and is scheduled to open in 2021.