Andover’s new radio station has responded to online chatter following the town’s announcement of being the fourth-best High Street in the UK.
The ‘Great British High Street’ competition placed Andover in the top five High Streets in the country following more than 900 entries but its announcement was met with sarcastically derisive comments online.
Andover Radio which launches next year will be operating under the multi-media banner of ‘Love Andover’. Working in partnership with such as Andover College and Test Valley Community Services it hopes to craft a sense of pride and aspiration in the town.
Managing Director David Harber says:
I was not surprised to read some ill-informed comments by local people on social media following announcement of this great accolade. If the High Street had paving slabs of gold they’d complain they were too bright in sunlight.
Residents making inequitable comparisons to places like Salisbury and Basingstoke that attract larger retailers are unwarranted. Such retailers require humongous floor space and having been designed two centuries ago, there simply isn’t the space available for large department stores in Andover.
The exponential growth of online purchasing will continue to be an increasing threat to High Street retailers. Andover should focus on being unique, boutique and celebrate our heritage and distinctive and evolving character”.
Facebook comments about the honour were largely negative with numerous posts focusing on the nefarious activities of young people in the town centre.
Fellow Andover Radio director and Pride of Andover award-winner Maurice Sweeney who has been a youth worker in the town for 20 years says:
Many people commented online about ‘yobs’ causing problems, but whereas we accept that there remain issues with young people, authorities like the Town Council are resolving with them – as can be seen by this week’s recognition.
There are much worse places to live in the UK with higher youth-related crime rates, fewer facilities and much less support for young people. It’s the trolls on social media – who are part of the problem, rather than the solution – who perpetuate such a negative perception.