Andover & Villages has this afternoon received a statement from Leader of Test Valley, Cllr Ian Carr regarding the current drama of A-Board removal in Andover Town Centre.
The statement refutes claims by Hampshire County Councillor Tony Hooke (UKIP) on his Facebook page, that UKIP parliamentary Candidate Diane James had a meeting with Cllr Ian Carr last week on Friday 9th January 2014 at the TVBC Council Offices.
Andover & Villages spoke to Diane James at the protest last week, who said that she would be visiting TVBC, “To sort the matter of A-boards out.” Despite being told that the matter was in the hands of Hampshire County Council.
Over the weekend Andover & Villages received complaints from local business owners that UKIP was using the important matter as an election and political tool and because of this did not feel able to have a voice, one business owner, Dorthe Thomas of Dorthe Thomas Spa in Bridge Street, told us, “Had UKIP not been a part of the protest last week, we would had turned up with our A-Board.
“I, like so any other small businesses in Andover need our A-board as we do not have a shop front to show what we are about. Without it we will lose business. So many people lately have found us because our offers on the A- board and told us they did not know we were there!
“It is not about politics but what is best for small businesses in Andover, how dare a political party become involved in something as trivial and basic as A-Boards.”
The statement from Cllr Ian Carr reads as follows;
“Many of you will have seen the recent statement issued by HCC Cllr Tony Hooke claiming that I had a meeting with Diane James MEP and that the A- Board issue had been resolved. This is NOT the case and is yet another lie from Cllr Hooke and UKIP.
No such meeting took place and there is no resolution to the issue, I was not even in Beech Hurst when she wandered into reception. Although I must admit that I am confused as to why she visited our offices, when, as Cllr Hooke well knows, it is a County Council responsibility.
As someone who has run small businesses in the Town, I understand the importance of advertising and promotion, I am, therefore, very keen to support Andover’s local traders. I believe that a licensing scheme for A–boards could potentially offer a solution to the current impasse.
However, this is a highways matter and is the responsibility of Hampshire County Council as the highway authority. The more that I have thought about this and considered the complications and issues, the more I have come to my first view that such a scheme should be administered by the County Council on a county wide basis.
There is no vendetta against Andover local businesses by HCC or TVBC, more a conspiracy by two particular serial complainants to make life as difficult as they can for the local councils.
That being said, I remain committed to completing my investigations into licensing schemes and also to finding other ways in which the Borough Council can support traders.”