It’s a mixed outlook for the Chantry Centre this week as new businesses open in the shopping centre, while another leaves town.

The One Pound Shop is taking over a large unit opposite Waterstones in the heart of the building, while the BID emporium, featuring products from a range of the town’s businesses. Meanwhile, Waterstones’ neighbour Game has confirmed it is leaving Andover, with the business relocating out of town.

Kal Dhillon, director of The One Pound Shop group, said they were “really excited” to come to Andover.

The Chantry Centre has been at the heart of town for a number of years, but has suffered from changing retail habits, with a number of units lying empty. It was purchased by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) in 2019, who set about on a number of projects aimed at revitalising the building.

Last year, as part of the Andover Masterplan, TVBC announced it would be demolished as part of the plans to make way for new streets and buildings including shops, restaurants and offices. However, in the meantime, projects such as refurbishing its office space and offering flexible leases are being carried out to try and use the “under-utilised space”.

One Pound World has now bought into the Chantry Centre, occupying the unit opposite Waterstones and near to the former Body Shop outlet. The unit has been prepared during lockdown, and opened today (Tuesday, April 13).

The brand new store will feature a homeware section, offering everything from cushions to candles, which is a UK first for the One Pound Shop group, as well as other items.

Kal said: “The One Pound Shop group are really excited to bring our retail offering to the Chantry Centre. We are a one pound retailer where one pound actually means £1. We hope the people of Andover embrace us so that we can continue to offer our unique mix of home, kitchen and daily essential items to the local community at rock bottom prices.”

Meanwhile, just across from new unit, electronics retailer GAME has vacated its unit. The windows have been whitewashed and its branding taken down, with a spokesperson for the company telling the Advertiser that the branch was “relocating within the area”.

Signs on the shop say that the nearest branch is now in Salisbury, around 18 miles, or a 30 minute drive, away.

While brands such as Game may have left the high street recently, independent businesses are performing more strongly. The Chantry Centre hopes to capitalise on this through the BID Emporium, being opened by Andover’s business improvement district on Saturday, April 17.

Six businesses will operate from inside the unit, including Andover Tap, which will sell its craft ales while its main outlet is closed due to lockdown restrictions, and others such as Wessex Spirits, Junction Road Curiosities and Sweet Ideas.

Steve Godwin, BID Manager, told the Advertiser: “Six businesses will be in the emporium at first, with room for another two. We’re really enthusiastic about it.

“Each business is bringing something new to the high street, and if they’re successful, our intention is to help them move on and into empty units.

“We will give them ongoing help and one-to-one advice on factors such as cash flow and staffing, because some don’t have the experience of this before.”

These changes to the high street follow the lifting of lockdown restrictions on April 12, with non-essential retail, personal care and hospitality venues allowed to reopen.