THE MAYOR of Andover has called on residents to ‘embrace the change’ to town centres, and celebrate the assets Andover has to offer in 2022.

Cllr Barbara Long told the Advertiser that many people in Andover have lived there for generations, and are holding onto the town centre they remember.

“If you speak to old Andoverians, the High Street has really changed for them. But people have always chosen to go and shop in other places as well.”

She continued: “There are shops that are opening up. People will complain that we have a lot of hairdressers, nail bars, and coffee shops, but they are always busy! The things you can’t get online, those more personal services, we now have a lot of those.

“I think people need to embrace that shopping is not the way it used to be, accept that our high street is going to be different and stop harping back to what things used to be like.”

Her comments come after a new poll has seen Andover appear in the Top 50 worst places to live.

Read more: Andover again ranked among worst places to live in UK

The research conducted by iLiveHere UK saw more than 110,000 readers cast their vote for what they consider to be the least desirable towns and cities to call home.

It’s not all bad news though, as last year the poll saw Andover come in 22nd place while this year it has fallen to 30th.

Last year’s ranking saw the Advertiser launch our Andover Appreciation Campaign, which garnered widespread support across the town.

Commenting on the ranking, Cllr Long added: “What are the criteria for the ‘worst places’? Who’s voting?

“Obviously people are coming to live in Andover, because houses are being sold, so it can’t be that bad!

“It’s a fairly safe place, with nice art installations and green spaces.

“There are a few people that seem to want to spoil things, but I think wherever you live, there is always things that could be improved. That doesn’t make it a bad place to live. As places to live go, I think Andover is a great place!

“We have got a great community in Andover where people help each other. It’s all about what things we value. You could live in some places and not know your neighbours. Does that make it a good place? Not to me.”

SEE ALSO: Six reasons why Andover is a great place to live

Another backer of the Advertiser’s campaign was leader of Test Valley Borough Council council, Cllr Phil North, who said that while he recognised the rankings were “tongue in cheek”, he thinks Andover has “lots of things we can be proud of”.

Reacting to the news, he said: “The image of Andover that this downbeat clickbaity website tries to portray is certainly not one I recognise. Andover is a fantastic place to live with a really exciting future, including a comprehensive plan to regenerate the town centre.

“Clearly what is said is tongue in cheek but this is a town with a huge amount of potential and lots of things we can be proud of - and that is what we should be focusing on.”

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Kimberley Barber