Service charge

City hall takeover of Chantry Center cuts business service fees by a third

BUSINESSES in Andover Shopping Center have seen service charges cut by a third since Test Valley Borough Council bought the shopping center in 2019.

The charge, which covers running, promoting and maintaining the Chantry Centre, has risen from £1.2m in 2019 to £850,000 for 2022.

But businesses will still receive the same level of support as in previous years, as the council has identified significant cost savings and more efficient ways to deliver the same services.

As part of this search for efficiency, the council now manages the center directly, rather than using a management company, as was the case historically.

Since buying the centre, the council said it had made a number of improvements, including refurbishing the lifts in the multi-storey car park and toilets near the bus station, repairing the leaking roof and upgrading of the CCTV system.

With the overall service charge bill reduced, the vast majority of tenants will see their service charges drop, while a handful will see their charges frozen at 2021 levels. tenants generally saw a year-on-year increase in their service charges.

READ MORE: Test Valley Borough Council will spend £250,000 on the master plan

Test Valley Borough Council Leader Cllr Phil North said: ‘I am pleased that we have been able to reduce the service charge for the third year in a row. Many businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and we will continue to do all we can to support them. As well as continuing to facilitate pop-up shops and covered markets, we also plan to hold a series of major events in the city center this year to help increase footfall.

“While we have plans for a fundamental redevelopment of the Chantry Center in the years to come, it is imperative that we do all we can to keep these businesses in Andover in a very difficult business environment, so that they can participate in this travel with us, so we will continue to forensically analyze the service fee to identify any further cost savings without compromising the level of support and services businesses receive.”

The council has written to all tenants with details of the service charge for 2022.

Reacting to the news, Andover Business Improvement District (BID) Director Steve Godwin told the advertiser: “It’s fantastic. TVBC has now taken full ownership of the centre, and that means they can offer a service improved at a lower cost to the inhabitants.

“That must be a plus! It’s one of the few malls where that actually happens.”

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