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Students share their vision for Andover

Andover College students were tasked with transforming the town centre at a recent session with urban design experts, NEW Masterplanning.

Twenty-five students took part in the workshop at the end of September to look at how they could completely redevelop Andover.

They discussed how the college could be better connected to the town centre with more and safer walking routes. They suggested the River Anton could be made into a more usable green space and that more green areas, seating and lighting could be provided to make it more welcoming to help encourage people to spend more time in town. 

Students also looked at how the Chantry Centre could be redeveloped but felt that its current layout was blocking potential routes across the town centre. They said that there needed to be a better variety of shops and services, including independent businesses, chain stores and leisure providers. In particular, they were keen to see a variety of food outlets that catered for student budgets and more venues for live entertainment.

Suzanne Grant, Andover College deputy principal corporate and deputy chief executive, said: “Our students were presented with a chance in a lifetime opportunity to have their opinions heard concerning the look, feel and composition of a vision for their local environment of the future. We are really pleased that the voice of our students is being valued as part of this planning exercise and that our students are actively engaging with this exciting opportunity to influence the way their town might evolve to meet the future needs of all local people.”

Appointed by Test Valley Borough Council, New Masterplanning and their partners HemingwayDesign, will continue to draw together feedback from local residents and businesses, feasibility studies and other key statistics to inform a masterplan for the town. This will then act as a blueprint to completely redevelop the area.

More than 2,600 people responded to the initial town centre survey which closed on October 1.

Lora White, at New Masterplanning, said: “It was a really great session and we were blown away by the students’ creativity, honesty and natural understanding of placemaking.  We’re really looking forward to working with the students again once we have started to draft up proposals. At the moment a lot of them don’t feel a strong connection to Andover and we want to ensure that future proposals can help to change that and ensure the town centre provides uses and spaces that enable people of all ages to feel welcome.”

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, added: “It’s fantastic that the students really embraced the opportunity to put forward their suggestions for the redevelopment of the town centre. They are the future of Andover and it is vital that they have a say in what their town should look like and what would encourage them to spend their time there. I’m really pleased that their comments endorsed the work we are already about to undertake to enhance the area around Town Mills.

“I am very much looking forward to reviewing the feedback so far and would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the initial survey. I would urge people to continue to get involved in the process over the coming months as there will be plenty of other opportunities for people to share their aspirations for Andover.”

The masterplan process will involve significant consultation with the public to decide what the future of Andover should look like. Once the masterplan is in place, the council is likely to appoint a developer partner to start delivering changes in the town.