Plans to convert Andover’s former job centre into flats will not be going ahead at present as the developer withdrew its application.

Jobcentre Plus moved to Beech Hurst, the offices of Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), in 2018, with the rest of the Crown Buildings, in London Street, remaining vacant since then. Plans have been submitted to convert the whole building into flats on a number of occasions, but, like the latest version of the plans, these were withdrawn.

In 2020, plans to convert the upper floors to flats were approved, but the ground floor was excluded. The most recent plans would have seen the whole building become residential, though two retail units facing London Street would have been maintained for lease.

The building was constructed in the 1970s, and for much of that time, Andover’s Job Centre occupied the ground floor, providing advice and support to those looking for work.

After moving out in 2018, the building was vacant, and sold for a price of £2,250,000 to a developer. They had plans to convert the whole building into 46 flats under proposals submitted in 2019 but later withdrawn, following concerns being raised about ‘potentially detrimental’ noise from nearby venues.

Following this, the upper three floors were granted permission for conversion to flats in 2020 after the developer, Fairmist Homes, addressed concerns over parking for the site, with parking spaces for all flats located behind London Street off Savoy Close.

The ground floor was not involved in these proposals, with the new application submitted at the start of April. Under the plans, eight flats would have be built in the rear of Crown Buildings, which will be accessed from London Street.

Andover Town Council had objected to the plans, on the grounds that there was no amenity space, and issues over nitrate neutrality. They also had concerns over parking, something shared by the owner of an adjacent building, Anthony Scrace. He noted that plans did not show that his building was able to use three of the parking spaces marked in the plans as for the use of the flats.

Some of TVBC’s departments had also objected, with environmental protection offcers raising concerns over the layout of the building, and the potential for “poor neighbour relations” from it, while the refuse department said the plans ‘lacked detail’ on how bin lorries could serve the site.

Following these objections, the plans have been withdrawn by the developer. As a result, they may be resubmitted in future.