A truly transformational day for Andover and certainly a day of pride for me and Cllr Phil North, the Leader of Test Valley.
We’ve been allocated £18.3m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to build a multi-purpose theatre and cultural hub in the heart of the town centre – accelerating the redevelopment. Yes, you read that right: EIGHTEEN POINT THREE MILLION POUNDS.
Phil led the charge locally and I threw everything at it in Westminster: pressing the case for Andover on ministers and officials in public and private constantly. The Test Valley vision for a new Andover town centre is so compelling that I was determined to get them the money they need to kick start the massive redevelopment.
The new venue will be situated at the entrance of the Chantry Centre, opposite the Guildhall, and feature a brand-new theatre auditorium, as well as modern spaces to host a variety of events and creative classes that currently take place in The Lights. With Andover bus station and the Chantry Centre car park just a short walk away, it will have High Street shops, cafes and restaurants on the doorstep and the leafy green Riverside Park as a backdrop, which will be expanded by the Western Avenue scheme that we are already progresssing. Boosting footfall and providing a real shot in the arm for our town centre both during the day and into the evening. This is absolutely amazing news for Andover and is a result of a lot of hard work in putting the bid together and making the case with central government. Thank you to everyone who has helped including dedicated council officers, consultants, councillors, Andover Vision stakeholders and local residents who helped develop the Masterplan.
Ultimately, the reason we’ve got this sheer size of grant is because of TVBC’s careful and robust approach to regeneration. Assembling the land holding, recruiting top quality master planners, consulting with the public, doing the technical work, delivering the early phases and now being in a position to convince government we can deliver. A great day for Andover.