HAMPSHIRE’S civic chief has promised that his council is making preparations for “all sorts of eventualities” that could arise from Brexit, as the country nears ever closer to March 29.

Speaking at the county authority’s Cabinet committee meeting on Friday (Feb 1), leader Roy Perry said that plans are in a “well advanced” stage and he is in regular contact with neighbouring authorities – such as Southampton City Council – to discuss potential issues.

It comes after the Romsey Rural member returned from chairing a conference about the UK’s departure from the European Union, of which 70 councils from across the South East attended.

“It is perfectly clear that all councils need to prepare for all sorts of eventualities and that detailed and extensive work is ongoing,” said Cllr Perry.

“As well as that conference, I have attended a meeting organised by the Local Government Association, addressing the issue of Brexit preparation.

“Whether we welcome or not Britain’s departure from the European Union, that is a matter that needs to be determined and sorted out in another place and not by Hampshire County Council. Our clear priority is to make sure that we’re as prepared as we can be, and we make that situation as smooth as we possibly can for the residents of Hampshire, and that’s what we’re doing.”

He added: “Plans are well advanced in Hampshire, and I can report – together with the chief executive, that I’m engaged in regular meetings with the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and leaders of the three unitary councils of Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

“I pledge that the county council will play a positive and constructive role in that work.

“What I will be doing, and what I certainly urge the county council to do, is to concentrate quietly and calmly to make sure that we have in hand all the necessary preparations.”

It comes just days after MPs voted to block a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit, as part of a series of ballots on amendments to Prime Minister Theresa May’s bill.

Parliament members did however authorise Mrs May to go back to Brussels to try to renegotiate the deal – which EU leaders indicate they won’t allow to happen