BUSINESSES around Swindon are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst as the Brexit deadline draws ever closer.

With the country just three weeks away from leaving the EU, feelings are mixed over the possible effects of exiting with or without a deal.

Bridgemead car dealership Pebley Beach's managing director Dominic Threlfall said: "We import all our vehicles from the EU and South Korea so this does have a massive impact for us and the whole motor trade.

"It's a logistical nightmare but our team are taking it in their stride and stockpiling for the worst-case scenario, like we did back in March, because if there is no deal there could be delays on importing even little items like brake pads.

"We would prefer a deal but whatever happens, we buy all our cars from a supplier in the UK so the headache lands in their lap. In that way, a lot of businesses aren't in control of their own destinies because it's their suppliers that will be worst affected but we are consulted on everything to try to minimise the impact for dealerships and customers."

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Managing director of town centre estate agents Castles Residential Sales & Lettings Mark Noble said: "Over the last 32 years of my career as an estate agent, I have experienced some really fantastic market conditions and, on the flip side, endured three deep recessions.

"In preparing for Brexit, we have been working tirelessly with our customers and clients to ensure that they have the very best chance of completing their property journey and we have been searching for every possible way to embrace change, streamline the costs of the business whilst continuously seeking ways to improve our service.

"On one hand, there is fear that the current apathy towards moving home could continue for a long time and on the other, I am a firm believer that those who need to move for everyday reasons will still take the plunge and keep the housing market moving.

"We need to find the most positive outcome as soon as possible to lift the doom and gloom and get the feel-good factor back into the property market, the economy and life in general.

"The best possible outcomes are either an acceptable deal to be agreed and leaving on the 31st or a second referendum is held and, if the outcome is to remain, then we follow this path.

"Either way, a further period of a lack of confidence would not be beneficial to anyone.

"Brexit is mildly irritating compared to the hard recessions we have experienced and I am confident that with interest rates on our side and with the passion we have for everything property, we will successfully navigate whatever Brexit throws at us."

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Old Town firm RedheadPR's founder Sara Tye said: "I'm not really worried either way. Of course, it's better to be organised when making a change but now I just want it done. People are not going to ever agree on the terms, there are too many stakeholders.

"Nothing will be as hard as the 2008 crash – that was the biggest change my business went through and the best businesses survived it.

"My suggestion is don't stop promoting what you do work smartly and provide the best service possible to customers."

A business summit held in the town by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership offered optimism about the town's prospects post-Brexit.

Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard said to the crowd: "What does the future for Swindon look like? Well, we have an incredibly rich business base in Swindon.

"There is an unprecedented level of investment in the town centre so we will have a modern heart of the town that will enable sustainable growth.

"There will be 13,000 extra houses and 50 hectares of employment land.

"Our ambitious projects underpin Swindon's position as a fast-growing desirable place to be with a great future."