ANDOVER town centre’s masterplan regeneration could soon be set in motion as the borough council has announced plans to apply for up to £20 million of government funding.

Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) is proposing to submit a bid for a share of the government’s £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund. Launched in March this year, the money aims to improve infrastructure across the country, with a particular focus on helping to regenerate town centres and high streets, as well as cultural and heritage assets, and transport.

At a special council meeting on Thursday, June 23, members will consider a recommendation to submit a bid for up to £20 million.

Top priorities outlined are a brand new park, a riverside footpath, a new cultural hub and a relocation of the town’s theatre.

Borough council leader, Cllr Phil North, said: “We have huge ambitions to transform Andover town centre, and this money would enable us to rapidly accelerate those plans.

“There’s no question that it’s an incredibly competitive process but we are confident that we can make a compelling argument for Andover and we will do everything we possibly can to give us the very best chance of securing the funds.”

Applications close on July 6 and, if successful, the council will need to begin the project by April 2023 and complete it by March 31, 2025.

If members approve submission of the bid, the council will find out if it is successful later this year. 

You can read the full story and reaction in this week's paper. Also in this week's edition:

  • A former travel agents will be transformed into an arts and community centre, if planning permission is approved. 
  • Andover's oldest church is set to close its doors for good next month as dwindling congregation numbers have made it unviable.
  • A volunteer from Andover who has supported the town’s Chinese community for more than 40 years has been recognised by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) as a Platinum Champion.
  • Around 200 people gathered at Appleshaw village hall on Sunday (June 12) for a ‘Ukrainian Day’ to celebrate the successful integration of dozens of refugees into the Test Valley community.
  • The headteacher of an Andover school has said he is preparing for a ‘really hard goodbye’ as he gets ready to retire at the end of the term following 15 years at the helm. 
  • South Western Railway (SWR) is urging customers only to travel by rail if absolutely necessary as it announces its planned strike timetable.
  • A 138-year-old copy of the Andover Advertiser has been found in excellent condition and returned to the newspaper’s offices. 
  • A pub manager has thanked her regulars for all the help they gave her while the inn was being renovated.
  • PLUS: Two pages of YOUR letters
  • PICTURES: 'Ukrainian Day' takes place in Appleshaw
  • An eight-page puzzle special
  • Entertainment news
  • Sports news
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