Every month, the Andover Advertiser brings you a column from the leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Phil North.

Cllr North is the borough councillor for Bourne Valley, and at last week’s elections, was elected to Hampshire County Council to represent Andover South.

Here is what he had to say this week:

Thank you to everyone who voted in the local elections last week.

I’m truly humbled to have been elected to the County Council and will continue to work my socks off to repay the faith the people of Andover South have shown in me.

To be clear, this doesn’t affect my commitment to leading Test Valley, which remains as strong as ever.

But it does mean I’ll be able to use my wealth of experience to deliver for Andover and the wider borough. Bringing the County on board to help deliver the town centre masterplan, pushing them to upgrade their waste infrastructure so we can all recycle more, and lobbying them to be more proactive on potholes.

Talking of Test Valley, I’m also delighted to welcome back both Jan Budzynski and Jim Neal to the borough council as representatives of St Mary’s and Millway Wards here in Andover following by-elections last week.

I’m also pleased that both Mike Maltby and Terese Swain were elected in Chilworth, Nursling and Rownhams in the south of the borough to fill the vacancies left by the sad deaths of my colleagues Nigel Anderdon and Alison Finlay last year.

Whilst the national picture was extremely positive for my party this is also an endorsement of the work we’ve been doing locally. Giving us a mandate to continue to lead the local recovery from coronavirus, whilst also continuing to deliver on our plans to regenerate our town centres.

My thanks too to all the candidates who put themselves forward. It takes an enormous amount of bravery to stick your head above the parapet and stand for election – and it’s great for local democracy that people were given a choice.

Finally, following the huge success of the vaccine rollout, step three in the easing of lockdown restrictions will kick in on Monday.

As well as bringing families together, this is great news for our hospitality industry and local hostelries, which are raring to fully get going as the summer approaches.

Many of them supported us during the toughest of times, providing a hub for food and medicines to be distributed - and it’s our duty to now show our support to them.

Cllr Phil North, Leader of Test Valley Borough Council