The new mayor and deputy of Andover have set out their vision of what they would like to achieve in the next year.

Councillor Barbara Long, and Councillor Robin Hughes, were responding to questions from the Advertiser at the town council’s annual Town Electors meeting, held in the Guildhall with members of the public also able to view proceedings virtually. They said that they wanted a “back-to-basics” approach for the local authority.

Cllr Long said: “My priority in the town council is the council meetings. They should run smoothly, efficiently and professionally. That’s why I stood as chair, to turn around where we are.”

Her deputy, Cllr Hughes, added: “I think the following year is really getting back-to-basics and doing things well again.

“We need to put the past couple of years behind us and we need to work together to the benefit of Andover and Barbara as mayor has already started on that route by being an excellent chair of meetings. No nonsense is taken.”

He said that priorities of the council in the past, such as taking on the ownership and management of the guildhall, should be a “longer term ambition” for the moment as the council moves on from a series of controversies.

“We have to get right things like the allotments before we start going forward to other ideas as we still have to grow the council,” he said. “As a council, we’re big but we don’t have many staff so to take on more services and duties, we need to grow our abilities and staff levels.

“Otherwise we overpromise and underdeliver which I think was a lot of the past year and year before.”

Cllr Long said that new councillors should bring forward what they wanted on the agendas of the council this year to shape its goals, saying: “I think it is for the new councillors to bring forward what their priorities are for the next year because as a council all councillors make a decision. It’s not my decision, it’s their decision.”

The town council next meets on July 12 when members of the planning committee will meet virtually.