South Coast Business Works debates the challenge and opportunities of Brexit

South Coast Business Works debates the challenge and opportunities of Brexit

CHALLENGE, opportunity, risk.
All adjectives used to describe Brexit – the theme of the Echo-backed South Coast Business Works which took place at St Mary’s Stadium yesterday in conjunction with Trethowans, Destination Southampton and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.
Around 300 visitors and 20 businesses took part in the event, networking, exchanging information and attending seminars to hear expert insight in to how Britain’s exit from the EU will impact on the regional economy.

Simon Rhodes, senior partner with Business Works sponsor Trethowans, said: “A thriving city has to have a thriving city centre. More jobs create more prosperity so we must ensure we have more office space to enable businesses to grow and at the same time attract inward Investment.” He added:  “More than anything, as a city,  we need to ensure we are joined up in all our thinking.””

Geraint Davies, a partner with Ernst and Young in Southampton explained that he coined the term “Platinum Coast” to describe the wider region in the hope that it would capture people’s imagination. He said:  “Solent City doesn’t seemed to have worked so perhaps we need something more striking like Silicon Valley which does a great job at identifying a particular region in the States. Our region has huge potential and we must be sure to realise it.” The head teacher at Cantell School Harry Kutty said one of the city’s priorities must be to stem the flow of young talent out of the area. “After all that is our future,” he said.

Robin Shepherd, partner with Barton Wilmore, the UK’s largest planning and design practice, struck an optimistic note. He pointed out that Southampton had enjoyed huge Investment in the last five years not least with the latest phase of WestQuay, which his practice had secured the planning for. He said the time had come to Invest more in the infrastructure so people could move more freely around the region.

Address the problems with the transport and infrastructure, Mike Spicer, director of research and economics at the British Chamber of Commerce said: “Investment in the transport links was long overdue,”  But added:  “Congestion is one of the symptoms of growth and without doubt Southampton is going to be one of the fastest growing cities in the UK this year.”


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