“Unacceptable” street furniture on Andover’s high street is set to be removed as plans for the Andover Masterplan progress.

The wooden planters were removed this weekend, while the metal cage planters on the high street are being removed in September by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), following criticism over their appearance. The planters are being removed ahead of a consultation for what new furniture should be introduced as part of a soft ‘reset’ of the high street.

Leader of TVBC, councillor Phil North, said: “I know that the plant cages have attracted criticism in the past, not least from me, and while it is clear that they were put in place to enhance the town centre, they are very much of their time.

“Their removal gives us a chance to consult more widely on how we can make our town centre more attractive for the future. Providing better street furniture and a wider variety of quality town centre greenery, as well as the opportunity to plant more trees. Crucially, this includes talking to disability groups to ensure any new street furniture doesn’t become too much of a hazard.

“NEW masterplanning and Hemingway Design did a fantastic job helping us create the masterplan, so we are delighted to be working with them again on this urban design and public realm project.”

Following years of development, the Andover Masterplan, which will see the Chantry Centre demolished and miles of new parkland created, was revealed in 2019, and subsequently approved by TVBC in 2020.

Since then, work has been completed on the Town Mills Riverside Park, touted as the first part of the plan, and the council has taken steps to embrace the “opportunities” of the plan in a later vote. However, the bulk of the plan is still to be considered, with a tender and a council vote taking place recently to begin to advance these steps.

The council’s next step is looking at the street furniture of the high street itself. This follows the town council’s design statement, which labelled the planters as “unacceptable”.

An extract from the document said: “While the pockets of green infrastructure found in the conservation area are a welcome addition, the style of some planters sit in juxtaposition to the quality of the conservation area. Most awkwardly, the tall ivy climbing structures which sit incongruously to their setting.

“In addition, the reduced quality and condition of the planters is beginning to become apparent, most obviously the timber planters.”

NEW Masterplanning will now be looking at all aspects of the town’s streetscape, from buildings, lighting and seating areas, to surfacing, planting and art. Details of consultations over the plans will be revealed in the coming weeks.