Markets are a place where you can get everything. Be it fresh produce or homemade goods, there’s a little bit of something for everyone.

But in future, you could also get a dash of town politics at the market, as Andover Town Council considers plans to operate a ‘councillor surgery’. Members of the council would be available to talk to in their gazebo, whether that’s to answer questions, complaints or anything else the public wants to know.

The plans are currently being formulated, and will be brought to full council for approval in future.

The initial plan for the council to have a presence at markets was raised previously, and has been delayed due to the Covid pandemic. It was raised again at a meeting of the Assets & Communities Committee at their meeting on Tuesday, April 13.

Councillor David Coole said: “When this was first raised, the idea was we would have a cross party group of members who would set up a gazebo at the markets so that residents can come in, say ‘hello’ and ask questions.

“It’s a bit like a councillor surgery with any member able to attend and answer questions. We had some delays in getting the costings for the markets through and we thought we’d bring it to a conclusion and see if we could go ahead or not.

“I’m in favour of it, I think we need to raise the profile of the town council, we need to give the opportunity for residents to come and talk to us. We haven’t had the facility to do this during the pandemic and I know some borough councillors have held surgeries in their wards and I think it would be an opportunity to do this cross-party proposal.”

Cllr Barbara Long then queried whether or not the council owned its own gazebo, and if an officer would have to be present for insurance purposes.

Deputy clerk Tor Warburton said that the council did own its own gazebo, and that as part of “preliminary advances” on the plan, she would investigate the costs and practical details of having a place at the market.

A report on the matter will be brought to the next meeting of the committee, and will need to be approved by full council before it can be put into action.