At a time when politicians of all political parties come in for ceaseless criticism it is important to acknowledge and cheer when hard work, determination and tenacity delivers. The awarding of £18m to Test Valley Borough Council to breathe new life into Andover town centre should be enthusiastically applauded. I know first-hand the endless hours that go into making bids to central government and the whole team officers and members need to enjoy the moment.

Many town centres are struggling. The growth of internet shopping, the dated buildings and out-of-town shopping have all contributed to some lovely high streets being quiet. The borough together with its many partners has tried hard to use events, happenings, exhibitions, and markets to bring people into the town. This together with cafes - which in Andover are great - and people living in the town centre all helps. The relocation of The Lights and the creation of spaces which the community can use with so many of our lively Arts organisations will enhance the buzz that is growing. 

Moving now from a "vision and masterplan" to "shovels in the ground" together with ensuring that whatever is built is viable will be a challenge. But it's a great challenge to have! Fortunately, the borough's lively Arts team, Chapel Arts Studios - who now have a shop front on the High Street - Test Valley Arts Foundation, together with ALL the other energetic groups in Andover will make sure TVBC are well supported.

There will be plenty of "issues" and the "devil will be in the detail" - there is also an opportunity to draw in the Andover Museum/Museum of the Iron Age and the Library.

But for now, as we go into Christmas we have something to look forward to!

Yinnon Ezra MBE MA FRSA- Chairman Test Valley Arts Foundation

Horsebridge Road


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