Developers and investors recently gathered in Bournemouth for the Business South Regenerate South Conference.

The aim was to highlight the breadth of development happening across the Central South and to underline why investors are choosing to put their money into the region which includes Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey and West Sussex.

Property writer and former Estates Gazette feature editor, Stacey Meadwell, chaired the event which attracted more than 200 delegates to the Hilton Hotel in Bournemouth.

Robin Shepherd from Barton Willmore and Andrew Howard from becg got the morning underway with a lively discussion over the current state of play as they launched the Talking Central South port –

Brett Trafford from Future Fawley talked about the ground-breaking plans for the former power station site which is situated on the edge of the New Forest National Park. He said the aim was to create a citizen centric community focusing on Better Place, Better Britain, Better Planet.

He revealed that 98 percent of the material that is currently on the site would be recycled and used in the new development, and they are ‘growing their own buildings’ by using wood from the owner’s estate to build.

“We are humans, and we live within nature. Being in a National Park we are thinking about everything that’s going out of the ground and everything that is going back into the ground,” he said.

Lucy Greenwood from Savills gave a fascinating overview of the current property market in the Central South and said London and the South East were not currently meeting housing needs.

Councillor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning, officially launched the authority’s Future Places brand and said they had sites with a value of £3bn waiting to be developed.

Developer Peter Tisdale from THAT group said the Central South’s coastal location was in its favour as people naturally want to be beside the seaside. He said work on the transformation of the former Knight and Lee store in Southsea was set to get underway in January.

Keynote speaker Sir Howard Bernstein shared insights regarding the creation of the Northern Powerhouse and suggested connectivity, transport and supply chains would be a critical focus for any similar scheme in the Central South.

The former Chief Executive of Manchester City Council who drove the region’s regeneration through strong public/private sector partnerships joined the conference via video link and took part in a panel discussion led by Stacey Meadwell.

The Conference also featured a ‘Meet the Site Owner’ zone, sponsored by Womble Bond Dickinson, where investors had the opportunity to discuss development opportunities in the Central South.

Group CEO at Business South, Leigh-Sara Timberlake, said: “This was such an important event, and we are pleased that so many people came along to find out more about the opportunities within our region.

“As we prepare to promote the Central South at MIPIM Cannes in 2022, the world’s largest property event, we have a great deal to shout about in our region. We are keen for the opportunities we have on our doorstep to be talked about on a national and international stage.”

The Regenerate South Conference was sponsored by BCP Council, Southampton City Council, Willmott Dixon, Morgan Sindall Construction, Womble Bond Dickinson, BSS, BECG and Tetra Tech.