Monday was an exciting day as the Advertiser was invited to a press briefing at Test Valley Borough Council to get a sneak peek at the authority’s masterplan for the town.

It is safe to say we were blown away by this vision for Andover. As you can read in our report on pages 4 and 5, the council wants to demolish the Chantry Centre to open up the town and create a more easily accessible shopping and living area.

The council will also be seeking developers to help construct town centre accommodation, a brand-new theatre and a new public park. They plan to get rid of the six-lane system on Western Avenue to create green space to open up access to the river.

While it is the job of the local press to hold authorities to account, we also believe in recognising success so this week we would like to say thank you to the council for putting forward a vision which will bring our town up to date with modern facilities and green spaces.

Research showed 98 per cent of Andover residents said they wanted to see change in Andover and they wanted the town centre to be redeveloped.

Residents are often unafraid to express their views over a need to overhaul the town centre and the council truly has risen to the challenge on this occasion.

Of course, council leader Phil North acknowledged this would not be an overnight project.

When asked by our reporters, he said it would be a decade in the making but already developers were showing signs of interest.

And he said it was likely the council might start doing aspects of the three-tiered project themselves. This might include knocking down the Chantry Centre, for example.

It is safe to say the next decade will be an exciting one for Andover.

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Katie French, Editor