TOWN centre businessman and campaigner Tony Hooke says Andover needs political leadership from the top and, speaking at a meeting of Andover Town Council, he called for Sir George Young to get more involved.

At a meeting in the Guildhall Mr Hooke, said: “Over the last year the town has continued to deteriorate.

“Our roads are peppered with potholes and our industrial estates have extremely poor occupancy and are decaying, and above all the town centre continues to suffer with more and more shops closing.

“I feel that the town is suffering from an intolerable political vacuum and in particular our MP Sir George Young has been absent for too long.

“Would the town council unanimously agree with me that Sir George should resign his government position and come back to Andover to concentrate on the extreme challenges the town faces.”

Town council chairman cllr David Drew said that the town’s county councillors were endlessly trying to get potholes repaired, that Test Valley had already engaged specialist company Kier to revitalise the industrial estates but the council only controlled 40 per cent of the Chantry Centre.

The town centre summit had been staged and a number of working groups established.

He said: “I’m not entirely sure what the MP would necessarily be able to add.

“If there was a simple answer to the problem we would have done it by now.”

But Mr Hooke said: “The town is going to rack and ruin and needs to be on a war footing with clear political leadership.”