A new mayor and deputy of Andover have been elected following a historic meeting in the Guildhall.

On the town council’s first meeting in the hall following the start of the pandemic, Councillor Barbara Long was appointed the first citizen of Andover when she was elected unopposed to be mayor. Cllr Robin Hughes was subsequently elected unopposed as her deputy.

Speaking as she assumed office, Cllr Long thanked councillors for her election, adding that she hoped "we can forget the nastiness that's gone on".

The first meeting back in the Guildhall was held on May 27 for the annual mayor making meeting of the town council. Cllr Richard Rowles was stepping down after two years in the role of mayor, as was Cllr Lauren Banville, his deputy.

Ahead of the meeting, Cllrs Jason Sangster and Luigi Gregori had proposed that Cllr Long should be the next mayor of Andover. Cllr Long is an independent councillor representing St Mary’s Ward.

The floor was opened to nominations from councillors attending the meeting, but none were forthcoming, so that Cllr Long was elected unopposed.

Following her declaration and signing of her acceptance of office, she took over the chairing of the meeting from Cllr Rowles, who was appointed in 2019.

Following his review of the year, it was time for the election of the deputy mayor. Like the mayoral election, one nomination for deputy had been received, in this case, Cllrs Barbara Long and Gregori nominating Cllr Hughes.

Cllr David Treadwell did suggest Cllr Lauren Banville, the incumbent, for the role, but she declined on personal grounds.

Cllr Hughes was therefore elected unopposed, and after signing his acceptance, he said: “I'm here to do as much as possible this year to work with all councillors old and new to achieve things for Andover with the town council.”

The mayor of Andover is responsible for chairing meetings of the council and representing it at public events such as Remembrance Day. The town council’s first mayor was Katherine Bird, who adopted the title from chairman after being elected to the office.