A local political party has appointed ‘champions’ for specific issues in an effort to engage more with these topics.

The Andover Independents Party has appointed Councillor Christopher Ecclestone as the ‘Good Design Champion’ and Councillor Rebecca Meyer as ‘Adversity Champion.’

The pair will seek to address these issues at both Andover Town Council and Test Valley Borough Council, of which they are representatives on each.

The party said that its leader, Cllr Meyer, was “excited to engage with people who have experienced adversity”.

It continued: “She believes it can be manifested into something positive. She believes that one should look at the growth, and things learned from adverse experiences. Adversity covers many things, some being discrimination, non able bodied, learning disabilities, mental health issues and failure to thrive.

“Rebecca is looking forward to working with the people of Andover to make their lives better.”

Meanwhile, as ‘Good Design Champion’, the deputy leader of the party, Cllr Ecclestone, said he would be seeking to make Andover “more attractive, more liveable and more affordable.”

He said: “Planning and Good Design should be, but are frequently not, overlapping concepts. As we have seen in recent times in Andover, they can be diametrically opposed.

“The fact that the planter ‘triffids’, concrete balls, inappropriate street furniture and fittings persist in the High Street and can be deemed conservation area ‘appropriate’ and that the paving, lighting and other elements are a complete hodge podge, just goes to show that good design is often the first victim of the planning process in Test Valley.”

Cllr Ecclestone had previously discussed these features, and asked Test Valley Borough Council if it would not “flaunt the rules of the conservation area”, during a council meeting.

At the time, Cllr Nick Adams-King, TVBC’s planning portfolio holder, said that there will “always be subjectivity when considering design,” and added that the council’s conservation officers are “highly qualified professionals, very well experienced in their field.”