Several residents attended the Andover Town Council Meeting last week (Thursday 24th April) and one in particular wanted to make their feelings known.
The following is the outline to the meeting and their views on it – and why Andover residents need to get more involved.
Andover Town Council Report
Before I begin, know this.
I am not masquerading as a journalist, I am simply a resident of this town. So this report on the Andover Town Council meeting held this Thursday past will not be a blow by blow account of what was said, I’m sure Andover Town will keep you posted on the finer points.
Instead, I will describe and recount as I know how. Then I want you to think, I want you to question and I want you to get mad.
Mad enough to get up and follow the question you end up asking yourself. Why didn’t I go? What would I have asked had I gone? Whatever it is, I hope it drives you to attend the next time.
The meeting was held in the upper Guildhall, Thursday at 7pm. Which may have been a reason for a number of you not to attend. Hardly the most convenient time, as I found myself arriving five minutes late.
We were greeted with a meeting in full swing, the 12 council members outnumbering the public by 3 or 4.
A lady called Janet Thorpe was outlining her idea to the council for a new initiative featuring local outdoor groups to get involved within events and highlight some important and positive things that happen in Andover. The council agreed to support A great idea which you can follow and get involved with via the links below.
I applaud the council for what happened next. They remained composed, which I found difficult myself.
Another passionate resident wanted her say. Instead of another well presented idea, a random outburst against volunteer groups not doing enough was followed by vulgarities and incoherent dismissive comments being launched at the council members.
It was not long before the lady stormed out, yelling “cheats” and various words not suitable for print.
Not the way to do things and despite her claims that her words were that of the public, the rest of us were clearly not in agreement.
The meeting continued with the argument ongoing outside between one councillor and the lady. The door was closed and we tried to move on.
Condolences for the loss of Sue Sheppard were announced, thoughts are with the family. Councillor Phil North’s absence was noted.
Various schemes were mentioned, all of which I’m sure you’ll receive more info on as they begin. From a deal to bring more steam engine based attraction through Andover to updates on the Andover Youth Council who are planning more awareness events in the next few weeks. You can keep up to date with what they are doing at their Facebook page.
Veterans In Action were mentioned with events to follow and the successes of the pop up shops Lone Fairy Jewellery and The Travelling Cup, securing local premises for trading were commended.
The pop up shops in my opinion are fantastic, and scoring two new businesses setting up permanent premises is a great result. Kudos to all involved.
Moving on and the storm damage to some of our Christmas lights will cost about £300. What followed was a claim the general public view was that our lights and tree have improved over the years…which leads me to my closing words.
First, I do believe the council members want to do good things. What I don’t believe is that at the moment they have a good grasp of public opinion or that they can truly represent the people of the town when less than ten people even bother to go and find out what they are doing.
I’m not blaming you, reader. There are many reasons why out of tens of thousands that could’ve gone only nine did. From apathy to life commitments, the reasons are many.
But out of those nine, one came with a plan. It’ll be interesting to see it develop and awesome to see it work. What Janet has already achieved is 100% more effective than shouting about it to your mates on Facebook.
Make yourself heard next time, let’s pack the place out, show the council that the people do care, that we are passionate and driven. That WE are the ones who will make a difference.