Andover Town Council is to launch a “top-class” site promoting places to visit in town following councillors voting in favour of the move.

Councillors on the Assets & Communities Committee voted to approve a draft of the website and the costs of hosting it at a meeting on Tuesday evening (April 13).

Concerns were raised about replicating the work of other organisations, such as Andover BID, but Cllr Jason Sangster, who is leading the project, said the site would tie into them.

The proposal for the website will now be sent to the full council for approval.

Councillors met a meeting of the Assets & Communities Committee on Tuesday, April 13, where consideration of the draft website was on the agenda. The site aims to showcase Andover’s attractions, as well as hospitality businesses and accommodation for us by visitors.

The website has been designed over the past few months by Cllr Sangster, an IT professional, with input from other councillors. He said doing it in house had saved money compared to outsourcing the development.

Cllr Sangster said: “We’ve done it using councillors’ skillsets and talents. Cllr Long and Cllr Coole brought fantastic content and research and I’ve used my knowledge in website design to build the site so we’ve saved thousands in terms of getting the site built.

“Once the site is designed, we choose a third party platform to host the site and once the hard work of the site is done it’s just hosting, and there are several options on offer. We’ve gone in the middle of the road at about £16 to £17 a month.

“If we want to amend it I can work with the officers to edit it, and we’re hoping the events site will be constantly updating.”

Cllr Christopher Ecclestone said that the draft was “absolutely stunning”.

“It’s very slick and functional and top class,” he said.

However, Cllr Luigi Gregori raised concerns that the site would be duplicating the work of other organisations, such as Andover BID’s InAndover website.

He said: “I’m a bit concerned as there seems to be lots of people doing similar websites. I heard today that the BID is going to have a fascinating website which links to shops around town. I heard that Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC or Andover Vision is also planning something similar, so I was wondering if we need to look at co-ordinating what all these other people are doing?

“If we could share the maintenance that would be a lot better.”

Cllr Ecclestone said that the council’s site would be targeting different areas to the others.

He said: “TVBC may be working on a site, they’ve only had 27 years to get their act together on that front and they still haven’t.

“As for the BID, it’s just the shops in the centre of town, whereas our site doesn’t have much about retail, and maybe Cllr Sangster could address that, but our goal is not to say we have a Pound Store but to put out to people from farther afield that we have attractions in Andover that are novel and unique and that If they come here there are a critical mass of attractions for their trip, and will tell them where to stay and eat.”

Cllr Sangster then responded to address these concerns, saying that the most pressing goal is to get the site live.

He said: “Our initial drive is to get the site live with tourism over the summer and having a good location for all the businesses and sites that bring people to the town.

“Tying in these other aspects, who are off doing their own thing, is possible and as time goes by we can collate what they’re doing and link them to what we’re doing.

“I think as a second phase we research what’s going on with other sites, especially with Andover BID, and how we can best tie into other projects.”

He added that the site could have more details of retail businesses if residents gave feedback that they wanted it.

Following an amendment to confirm the £16 a month cost of the site, the proposal was put to a vote.

It was passed unanimously, and will now be considered by the full council before going live.