Tag Archives: theatre plaza

Andover’s Theatre Plaza revised application and duck sign

On Friday 7 May, we had a meeting with Test Valley Borough Council officers Jason Owen and Michael Johnson,  Sue Sheppard from the Andover Vision Consortium, and David Gleave from the Town Centre Management.

We met to get an update on the revised plans for Theatre Plaza Scheme in Andover. We are now clearer as to what fallow space we will be working with.

Jason Owen who works in the planning department shed some light on the revised planning application for the Andover site and explained that the planning application would take place in two phases.

It consists of the construction of a 72-bed hotel and a ground floor restaurant as well 38 units of affordable housing. This development will leave a good part of the site fallow.

Here is what Jason drew to describe the first phase. The platform was drawn by Michael as a rough idea to create a walkway through the site.

The first and second phases of the Theatre Plaza

There is a 6 meter level difference between the eastern and western side of the theatre plaza.

The remain of site will be boarded up. Allowing public access to the site during the Urban Fallow programme may be difficult.

We also discussed available funding and ressources. Michael Johnson mentioned that community gardeners may be available to work on the Urban Fallow project.

After the meeting, we looked at the site and were surprised to find it looked quite different from our visit in the winter. The shrubs are now in full bloom and some of the trees are  quite big!

We also took Esmée, our daughter and the Urban Fallow project’s mascot, to see the recently-arrived residents of the banks of the  River Anton. The goslings and ducklings were a real treat for her. The feathered population is growing and car drivers are asked to slow down when they reach their residence. We loved the sign!

Warning about the duck population of River Anton


Facts Gathering: Andover’s ‘Theatre Plaza’

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.

The hoarding around the Ford Cottage site

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.

Michael Johnson, Senior Arts Officer, explaining the plans for the site

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.