In May 2014, Test Valley Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and Andover Town Council jointly ploughed £30k a year into the appointment of a town centre manager.
Appointed to the role, Chris Gregory arrived boasting many success stories of turning town centres around into thriving metropolises.
To date, Gregory has been involved in various town centre events and activities, but it is not clear what actual successes can be attributed to his appointment, and if indeed if they have offered a local return of at least the £90k that was put into the project.
In 2015, Chris Gregory hired an assistant, Gemma Thompson who became responsible for local marketing and promotion of the town centre. TVBC and ATC have jointly funded the decision to keep Gemma on to fulfil a similar role, which she started last week at a cost of £8,000 per year.
The position was not advertised locally, a spokesperson for TVBC told Andover & Villages, “The contract for town centre management required two quotes in order to adhere to the Council’s procurement process.”
Economic Development and Tourism Portfolio Holder, Councillor David Drew, said: “It’s great news that Test Valley Borough Council and Andover Town Council will continue to jointly fund ongoing efforts to improve the Town Centre. In her new role, Gemma will provide vital continuity and will support local businesses to work smoothly and effectively as they debate and discuss the BID. This will ensure the best possible outcome, which will champion the Town Centre and bring businesses together.
“Having been involved right from the start of the appointment of Chris Gregory I would add my thanks for the excellent work he has done over the past three years.”
Cllr Len Gates, Andover Town Council, added: “I’d like to thank Chris Gregory for putting in a lot of hard work to create and support the Andover Town Centre Partnership. Since he was appointed, he has established a strong partnership between town centre businesses and has organised successful events such as the Festival of Motoring, A-Fest and the Town Tidy Day.”
Chris Gregory was unavailable for comment.