The Solent sub-region will see ‘a short term slow down’ in growth as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the Chief Executive of its local enterprise partnership (LEP) has said.

Speaking at a Built Environment Networking event in Southampton Anne-Marie Mountifield said that the business organisation has modelled the potential impact of Brexit on the Solent economy of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

This exercise showed ‘a slight slow-down’ in the rate of growth within the South Hampshire region due to the uncertainty and more cautious investment environment resulting from Brexit.

She said: ‘’Whilst uncertainty prevails and government and businesses understand the new arranges, there will be a more cautious environment. Short term there will be an impact but in the medium term once people understand the rules of the game, there will be a higher level of certainly.’’

The port of Southampton, a key driver of the area’s economy, will benefit from the high level of trade that it handles with no-EU countries, which means it already possesses much of the customs and other infrastructure that may be required post-Brexit.

The help remedy construction skills shortages in the areas, Ms Mountifield said the LEP was helping to roll out a new civil engineering trades centre that would teach a range of skills.

Adrian Ford, Deputy Principal of Finance and Corporate Resources at Wiltshire College, said that work was due to begin this summer on the first phase of their £14m redevelopment of the main campus, which includes the refurbishment of several blocks and cladding.

The next two phases, involving demolition works and the construction of a new teaching building, would commence in the summer of 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Mark Bagnall, Director of Estates, Facilities and Capital Development at the University Hospital Southampton, said the trust tried to avoid using the NHS’ P22 procurement mechanism due to expense involved and has developed its own internal method of tendering for schemes worth up to £400m.

Due to the core estate being built in the mid-1970s the hospital is now needing areas of refurbishment and its chiller and steam systems are ‘becoming knackered’. The hospital also needs another 1,000 car parking spaces with Bagnall saying: "We want to be able to offer everyone who works for us a parking space or access to a park and ride.’’

He also highlighted the importance sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) which have been set up by the government to help reshape local health services. They’re becoming ‘the key drivers’ for bringing forward capital development projects in the NHS with Bagnall adding: ‘’Most trusts haven’t got the ability to fund their own capital programme, the only way is through STPs’’

Delegates were also shown as overview of the university’s recently completed projects including a cancer immunology building with the University of Southampton – the ‘only dedicated cancer research building in the country’.

Paul Colbran, Chief Information & Infrastructure Officer at Southampton Solent University, said that the institution had started work on the refurbishment of its East Park Terrace Campus.

Once the University has completed the development on the campus’ lower site, for which a business case and investment plan are being prepared, the campus’ upper site will be sold off for redevelopment – expected to happen in 2020.

Whilst capital is currently cheap for Universities Paul Colbran said he would not be surprised to see a significant change in the supply of investment finance future, adding: ‘’At some point, the cost of borrowing will change.’’

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