TWO new wards for the town are closer to becoming a reality after an independent commission's published its final recommendations this week.

Andover Romans, covering the new Augusta Park estate, and Andover Downlands, spanning the Picket Twenty development, feature in the Local Government Boundary Commission’s report for a new-look Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

As a result of the proposed changes, the number of councillors in the Andover area could rise from 15 to 17 - although TVBC say each member will represent a higher number of residents than before.

This is because the overall number of councillors across Test Valley could drop from 48 to 43 under the plans, while the number of wards would be reduced from 24 to 20.

Commenting on the new report, leader of Test Valley Borough Council, councillor Phil North, said: “I’m delighted that the Boundary Commission’s final recommendations agreed with our submission to reduce the number of Test Valley councillors to 43 at the next election.

"We had asked for changes to some local wards in the south of the borough and am pleased that, together with feedback from the community, those local ties have been more appropriately reflected, and specifically, that Broadlands remains within a Romsey town ward.”

Following the commission's draft recommendation published earlier this year one small change was made to the boundary between the Bourne Valley and new seat Andover Romans.

Within the previous report had split the hamlet of Finkley between the two wards.

The new recommendations also propose that those councillors should represent eight three-councillor wards, seven two-councillor wards and five one-councillor wards across the borough.

Professor Colin Mellors, commission chair, said, “We are extremely grateful to people across Test Valley who took part in the review. The commission has looked at all the evidence that was put forward during the consultation.

“We believe these recommendations deliver electoral fairness for voters as well as reflecting community ties throughout Test Valley.”

The proposed new arrangements will now to go before Parliament to be implemented in the coming months.

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