IT IS soul-destroying to read the weasel words from the Leader of Test Valley is response to the loss of Marks and Spencer and the crisis faced by our town.

If he’s correct that Andover’s disastrous 2018 is our fault for ordering online how does he explain Andover’s paradox with Stockbridge? On any day, he’d care to visit, he’ll find a thriving High Street reminiscent of Andover High Street in the glory days.

The public spaces and the Chantry Centre in Andover town centre are like they are due to a lack of investment both in vision and in budgetary terms by Test Valley Borough Council and, as a result, they are no longer fit for purpose.

Does this explain why brands like Primark do not see Andover as a growth area and of course, Marks and Spencer have placed Andover at the top of its hit list of stores?

If Stockbridge is not your cup of tea, then drive the short distance to Newbury, Cllr North, and see what can be achieved.

They have a new shopping centre with a John Lewis store.

For too many years Test Valley has suffered from a parochial council mentality that has delivered what we have today – a former market town that doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be.

Paul Flippance, Suffolk Road, Andover.