On our visit to Andover on 13 January 2010, the Ford Cottage site lay empty and hoarded. The hoarding itself is in relatively good condition given it is 20 year old. It is intact apart from a small passage through which we all got in, led by Michael Johnson, Senior Arts Officer at Test Valley Borough Council.
Inside we walked through the snow-covered remains of window frames and car batteries dispersed in a thin mass of shrubs and brambles. Michael Johnson talked about the plans for the site and the vision of Arthur Freeman who clearly saw its potential as a new landmark for the town of Andover.
We were able to see for ourselves how close the site was to the town centre and The Lights and how it was at the crossing point of major pedestrian routes. However it felt like we were at the back of where the action was: all we could see was the back of waitrose and other buildings. It became clear to us how the rationale of creating a new gateway as intended by the ‘Theatre Plaza’ scheme came about.