AN AGEING and inadequate road network, lack of government investment and a skills deficit in the infrastructure sectors are holding back the south coast, according to business leaders.
The challenges were highlighted during the inaugural Transport and Logistics Dinner chaired by south coast solicitors Coffin Mew on behalf of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.
Thirty organisations, including the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire, ABP, Ordnance Survey and Tourism South East, attended the round table discussion at the Palace House, Beaulieu.
The group has written to the Secretaries of State for Transport, for Business Innovation and Skills and for Communities and Local Government, as well as all Hampshire MPs, to highlight the impact of reducing government investment in the south’s infrastructure.
Top of the discussion was the impact roadworks have on businesses. Concerns were aslo raised about how the existing infrastructure would cope with new developments, such as Welborne near Fareham, and the need for 100,000 extra homes in the next 30 years.
The group agreed that greater co-ordination was needed between the commercial sector and government to address existing and potential transport issues.
Nick Gross, chairman and head of transport and logistics at Coffin Mew, said: ‘This round table event demonstrated the importance of transport and logistics to the south coast economy and the passion which business leaders in this sector have to succeed.
‘The clear themes from the debate were that businesses recognised they needed a more co-ordinated and therefore stronger voice, and that they could achieve this working with organisations such as Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.
‘There are big issues affecting this sector in the near and distant future and, while there is no quick fix, it is clear that big problems need a strong response. We will be supporting the co-ordination of a regional voice to compete with the north.’