Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) has voted to delegate more responsibilities to its staff aid with the development of the Andover and Romsey masterplans.

Under the plans, officers will be authorised to spend amounts ranging from £5,000-£50,000 on projects to drive the plans forward. Expenditure of over £50,000 will still require approval and consultation with stakeholders.

The move was proposed by Cllr Phil North and seconded by Cllr Nick Adams-King, and passed without dissent.

In June 2019, the council agreed that a budget of £1 million from the New Homes Bonus reserve would be used to put towards the regeneration of Andover town centre and the south of Romsey town centre. Masterplans were developed and subsequently adopted by TVBC in September 2020.

The Andover masterplan will see a number of new areas developed for the town, including new parkland, the demolishing of the Chantry Centre, and the relocation of The Lights Theatre.

Under the plan, the regeneration manager and head of planning policy & economic development will be able to spend up to £5,000 on projects without consultation, while amounts of up to £50,000 can be spent in consultation with the head of finance & revenues, the finance portfolio holder and the portfolio holder for the particular regeneration project.

Cllr North said that the plans would support the town centres to become “vibrant and populous places where residents and visitors can live, work and enjoy themselves.”

He said: “We want to ensure that we are able to react to possible opportunities which includes ensuring the delegations are appropriate.”

He added that the proposals will “simplify the process and ensure the momentum can be continued while ensuring appropriate controls are in place.”

The recommendations were carried without dissent, and are now adopted by the council.