Andover is all set to embrace the festive season and head into a new year with a sense of positive optimism!
Starting on the 1 December the Council will be running its Free Christmas Parking Voucher scheme again to say thank you to people for choosing to shop in Andover.
Free parking for an extra hour will be available to all those displaying the voucher alongside a valid pay and display ticket or Ringo payment purchased for a minimum of one hour. This means that for just 90 pence you can park from 2pm during the offer period and shop until you drop!
The combination of free parking after 4pm Monday to Saturday, all day Sundays and bank holidays, and the Christmas voucher, will provide an added incentive to encourage shoppers to come and enjoy all that the town has to offer for the festive season. The voucher will be valid in all Council car parks in Andover on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1 to 17 December.
Retailers can collect vouchers from Chris Gregory, Town Centre Manager to hand out to their customers, or from the main reception of the Star and Garter Hotel. Vouchers will also be available from the Council office at Beech Hurst, Weyhill Road from Friday 21 November. An accompanying poster for shop windows will also be available. The voucher can also be downloaded at www.testvalley.gov.uk/freechristmasparking
The good news continues for shoppers with the retail offering in Andover expanding over recent months. The shop vacancy rate in the main shopping areas has fallen to 10 per cent, well below the national average of 13.5 per cent; showing that retailers are choosing Andover as a good place to set up shop.
Among The Chantry Centre’s new occupiers are Pandora Jewellery and The Baby Room, which was the first recipient of the Council’s Independent Retailer Grant when they set up in Bell Street, Romsey last year. They are now expanding and opening a second shop in Andover.
Proprietor of The Baby Room, Hannah Morris-Barratt, said: “The Baby Room has gone from strength to strength in Romsey. When I was looking for a suitable location to expand my business, Andover was the logical choice. It is a town that is looking forward and is expanding. I saw a gap in the market and wanted to offer our outstanding quality, but low priced items to the people of Andover. There are lots of new housing developments and the population and retail demand is growing. I am delighted to be a part of that growth and we hope to remain here for many years to come.”
With more retail newcomers in the pipeline and the Chantry Centre’s plan to introduce a refreshed look in the near future, there are now lots of reasons to shop local.
The town centre has also been spruced up with a pavement deep clean, just in time for the biggest event of the year, the Christmas Lights Switch On, held on Friday 21 November. The huge BigTV stage will feature a packed programme of local performers, introduced by The Breeze. With street theatre, children’s rides and hot seasonal food there should be plenty to keep people happy in the lead up to the switching on of the Town Council’s Christmas Lights at 7.30pm, and a fabulous firework display provided by the Chantry Centre.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Carr, said: “The changes and innovations that have taken place since the Andover Summit first sparked an interest in our town in 2012 have incrementally led to Andover becoming a more attractive place to do business, shop and visit. Initiatives such as the free Christmas parking scheme, the delivery of a packed calendar of special High Street events and markets, the pop-up shop scheme, changes to the look and feel of the High Street, and the employment of a dedicated Town Centre Manager, have all contributed to the growth of Andover in 2014. The enormous goodwill of everyone involved, from traders to local businesses to residents and shoppers, means that Andover looks set to have a positive new year ahead.”