A ‘first-of-its-kind’ space for Andover businesses is to fully open later this month following a partially opening today (July 1).

Incuhive Andover, located on the upper floors of Chantry House, the blocks rising above the Chantry Centre, was commissioned following a grant of over £200,000 given to Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) to refurbish the floors and open the space to businesses. The space has been refurbished over the past few weeks, with a full opening planned for the end of the month.

Amy Padfield, from Incuhive, told the Advertiser: “We set an ambitious opening date for Andover, and part of it is now ready with a customer ready to use the space.

“Realistically, the whole site will open later this month as there have been some delays in goods and materials. It’s all hands to the deck here with electricians and installation at the moment.”

Plans for the site were announced back in March, with TVBC given a grant by the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership to take on the project.

Six offices will be created, as well as 30 rentable desks, recreation areas and reception facilities. There will also be photo and video studios, as well as an innovation space, for creative industries in the building.

Flexible working has become increasingly popular even before the pandemic, with companies such as WeWork seeing explosive growth throughout the 2010s. It has been predicted that following Covid, flexible working will continue to grow after the mix of home and office work in the pandemic proved successful.

Amy said that the site was already proving popular with businesses, saying: “There has been a lot of interest in the site already. There are lots of customers looking to move in which is exciting.”

The offices have been designed to be adaptable, with Covid mitigation measures currently in place but they are able to be removed if and when they are relaxed.

They are also likely to be the longest surviving part of the overall Chantry Centre complex, which is slated for demolition under the Andover Masterplan. The demolition is intended to take place in phases, with the Incuhive to be one of the last sections to face the wrecking ball.

There is currently no date for this demolition, with estimates of at least a decade until the work begins. Outline plans for the project, however, suggest new office spaces in the buildings that will replace it.