The Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, has announced he will run to become a Hampshire County Councillor.

Cllr North was chosen as a candidate for Andover South by the North Hampshire Conservatives, with elections due to take place next May.

Cllr North will hope to replace Cllr Boiles, also a Conservative, in what is considered to be a safe seat for the Conservatives, who have held it for most of the past 15 years with a large majority, except for a period between 2013 and 2017 where the seat was clinched by UKIP.

Cllr North made the announcement on Facebook, where he said that he was “more than happy” to get involved with county council issues to prove he was “worth your vote.”

He said that the county council could often feel “remote” and wanted to ensure that it works for Andover.

He said: “In part that’s down to its size but it’s also because of its financial resource. Or lack of it. Meaning difficult decisions have to be made about what it funds and what it doesn’t. I, therefore, feel it’s incumbent on me to use my wealth of experience and the personal contacts that I’ve built up with senior councillors and officers in the County, to deliver for Andover.

“Many of the elements of the Masterplan to regenerate Andover Town Centre fall under the auspices of the County Council. And just like the Town Mills project, we need County Council commitment to be able implement it. Being an elected member will help me in that quest.”

He said the role would not affect his “commitment” as leader of Test Valley and as councillor for Bourne Valley “which remains as strong as ever.”

If North were to win the election, he would join his wife, Kirsty North, as a councillor on Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council. She currently sits as the county councillor for Andover North and the borough councillor for Andover Romans.

Elections to the county council are currently scheduled to take place in May 2021.