I WRITE in reference to the report about the Andover Levy as discussed at a meeting of Andover Town Council in the Andover Advertiser of November 23 (‘Axe tax unfair to town’.

I have been representing Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) in discussions with Andover Town Council (ATC) about the levy since March this year. From that initial meeting with Cllr Bird onwards my message to ATC has been clear and consistent: we are happy to discuss the transfer of services to the town council, thereby reducing and eventually removing the levy.

However, this needs to be completed in an orderly and transparent manner and TVBC need to be assured the standard of service will be maintained and that the charge made to Andover residents will remain reasonable.

TVBC has a duty of care to the residents of Andover to ensure the quality and consistency of services undertaken on their behalf. Cllr Bird recognised herself in our first meeting that the town council does not have the capacity to take responsibility for these services in one go and that an orderly, phased transfer would be most appropriate.

I, and everyone at the borough council, have been clear in asking for a prioritised list of services from ATC in the order in which they would like to assume responsibility for them. Despite being given the detail of the services covered by the Andover Levy in two different formats we are still, some nine months later, waiting for their prioritised list.

To suggest that there is any obstruction on the part of the borough council is entirely disingenuous. If the town council are unable even to provide detail of the order in which they hope to take over services from the borough, that is perhaps is an indicator of their ability to run those services efficiently, effectively or even at all.

The door remains open for the town council to bring their proposals for transfer and onward management forward. Until such time as we receive proposals the borough council will continue to provide services efficiently and at the highest standard to the residents of Andover.

Nick Adams-King, Councillor for Wellow, Awbridge, Sherfield English and Plaitford & Melchet Park, Deputy Leader, Test Valley Borough Council, Cabinet Member for Planning & Transport