Movers and Shakers of the South Coast with Peter Taylor

16 Feb 2022
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Movers and Shakers of the South Coast with Peter Taylor

Movers and Shakers of the South Coast with Peter Taylor

In the second episode of Let’s Talk South Coast podcast, Nella is joined by Peter Taylor, Senior Partner at Paris Smith LLP, Commercial Mediator and President of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.  

They discuss plans that the Chamber of Commerce has for the South Coast, the economic and personal disruptions of the pandemic and how Peter is committed to maintaining his support 

In this episode they touch on what Paris Smith is doing to bring employees back to the office and chat about the Solent Freeport and the strategic roles businesses can play in Southampton being the largest multifunctional port in the UK.   

Key Insights From This Episode:  

  • Southampton could be the Singapore of Europe. – Peter  
  • The days of control management ended pre-pandemic. – Nella  
  • If you attract a bigger economy then even the businesses that are sitting outside the Freeport area will stand to benefit. – Peter 
  • Free ports in various parts of the world have been enormously successful. – Peter 
  • There are people who like to have meetings for meetings sake and other people who want to have meetings in order to make a difference in outcomes. – Peter 
  • It is an office revolution from what it was historically to how we operate today. – Nella 
  • The freeport puts us onto the international stage. – Peter 

About Our Guests: 

Peter Taylor, Senior Partner at Paris Smith LLP, Commercial Mediator and President of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce. His primary role is as a leader of Paris Smith LLP and he is privileged to be a custodian of the firm’s brand and his duty is to serve the partners and staff ensuring that our purpose is delivered in a relevant, responsive and reliable manner. His driver is to see those in Paris Smith achieve their full potential, to be inspired to do so, and feel happy and fulfilled.  

Over and above this, he regularly meets and works with fascinating and dynamic business owners and people, using his skills and links to enable them to achieve their personal and business goals. He is committed to aiding Paris Smith’s clients to achieve their desired outcomes, feel in control, minimise the need for the distress purchase of legal services and engage lawyers for positive reasons.  

He uses his skills to advise companies both around the options for resolving disputes and to manage their legal risks in line with their business objectives, aspirations and strategy. 

He assists and advises a wide range of organisations with business strategy issues, guiding them on how to ensure that the board operate and are seen to perform their role as a unit, rather than a group of individuals pulling in different directions.  

He is an accredited commercial mediator, assisting individuals and businesses to find solutions to disputes without the costs or limitations of a courtroom battle. Litigation can be expensive and destructive unless approached in a prudent, balanced manner. Mediation provides a safe and confidential forum for parties to a dispute to find a resolution, which might be more appropriate than can be awarded by a court.  

Winner of Business Leader of the Year Award in the 2020 South Coast Business Awards 

He has been cited by The Legal 500 Directory as “a highly skilled litigator and negotiator”. He is regularly asked to write and speak on leadership and business risk issues. 


[01:20] Whenever we meet, you always have a plan or idea that you are working on. Tell me about the plans as the newly elected President of Hampshire Chambers of Commerce? 

  • Post-Brexit and Post-COVID, the strategic opportunities for this region and in particular ports such as Southampton (which is the largest multifunctional port in the country, the trading hub of the UK) those opportunities, both on the national stage, and the international stage are there for the taking. 
  • Southampton’s bid for UK City of Culture and Solent Freeport 
  • Challenges include the skills issue. 
  • Sustainability and climate change, businesses need to not only address climate change but take advantage and achieve competitive advantage around that.  

[03:30] We talk about Singapore as the global gateway and there is no reason why Southampton or the rest of the South Coast can’t compete with Singapore. Do you agree?  

  • I completely agree, Singapore is an amazing city, a brilliant port city and there is a huge amount of activity and opportunity going on.  
  • We say that Southampton is the Singapore of Europe and we have that sense of ambition.  
  • Southampton and the regions around Southampton are well placed to emulate, on a European stage, something similar to what Singapore has done in South Asia.  

[4:35] The economic and social disruptions caused by the pandemic have been challenging. How are you committed to ensure that we maintain support and collaboration throughout Hampshire 

  • What drove me through the pandemic was the idea that in the face of a storm you can either go into a cave and hide and just hope that it blows over and then you come out the other side or you have to work with what you’ve got. 
  • The great opportunity that we’ve got here is;  
    1. Desire to create that legacy. 
    2. In coming together, we create a much greater GVA right across the south and we build an economy in which our generation, future generations can flourish. 
  • There are very few boundaries now because of hybrid working.   
  • One of the important things that came from the pandemic is the balance between one’s life physical and mental wellbeing as well as getting the job done.  

[7:50] It is an office revolution; from what it was historically to your kind of cellular offices to how we operate today. With Paris Smith are there any plans to adapt your office working post COVID? 

  • People work very effectively from home but there are three key elements to the office; maintaining the culture of the firm, mental health and wellbeing and learning and development.   
  • We want people back in the office but also have the flexibility of some time at home.  
  • t’s not what you say or what you do that people remember, it’s how you make them feel.  
  • Making sure they feel safe and secure because if you build in a degree of safety and security, in people’s minds, as well as clarity as to what you want them to do and what their role and responsibility is –  that sense of loyalty is immense.   

[11:20] You mentioned briefly about the opportunities and challenges for the economy across the South Coast and you also mentioned Southampton having the largest multifunctional port in the country. What are the strategic roles businesses in the South Coast have to play?  

  • Coming together and building a strong narrative as well as helping to build a strong narrative. 
  • In the past we’ve perhaps been a bit too shy of a region, and not showcasing all the great things that have come out of the region such as the internet was born at the University of Southampton by Tim Berners Lee.  
  • If we can all showcase the great stuff that we’ve got here, we can provide a really compelling narrative.  

[14:10] That is what has been so successful with the culture bids and about engaging with the locals, as well as the businesses involved in Southampton.  Can you tell us more about how this will play a part in businesses across the South Coast? 

  • We can look at the impact of successful City of Culture bids as well as the social impact, impact in terms of the visitor economy and restoring that sense of pride for people.  
  • If you’ve got more people coming into the region to experience what Southampton and the wider area has to offer, that’s going to drive more business, more economic activity. 

[15:35] Many great things are happening, for example, the Solent Freeport. How do you think that’s going to change the dynamics of the South Coast?  

  • It puts us on the international stage.  
  • Function is to attract businesses that otherwise wouldn’t have come to our area to come and set up a base here.  
  • Freeports in the UK have been constrained in the past because of the restrictions that we had because of our involvement with Europe, those restrictions have been lifted. 

[17:10] If you were to implement one initiative across the South Coast, money is no object, what would you do? 

  • Creating through collaboration a sense of pride that we can be world leaders. 
  • A sustainable economy that would be naturally around the world of maritime. We have got some great talent in Southampton to help us do that.  
  • Coming into the economic hubs, creating a space that inspires people to want to come and visit us and to stay rather than simply pass through.  

[18:25] You were cited in the Top Legal 500 Directory as a highly skilled litigator and negotiator, you are the winner of the Business Leader of the Year in 2020 at the South Coast Business awards and as you’ve recently been elected as the president of Hampshire Chambers of Commerce. What do you think are the main reasons for your success? 

  • Two very supportive parents but school was a challenge for me 
  • Determination to never give up and what drives me is wanting to see other people happy and succeed.  
  • Being consistent and being true to yourself. 

[20:10] Quick Fire Questions  

1)  Who are the movers and shakers of our region? Is there an individual or an association that you would recommend so that people stay well informed about the region?  

  •  Hampshire Chamber of Commerce – being the voice of business 

2) What is the best thing about living on the south coast? 

  • Sense of freedom, having access to fresh air space, the national parks, the cultural mix 
  • The rich array of talent    

3) What is your favourite mantra to live by?  

  • Wake up each day, with a spirit of hope and expectation that I’m going to learn something new today. I’m going to learn about myself, I‘m going to learn about others when I’m going to learn about the world around us. 
  • It’s not what you say, or what do you do that people remember, it’s how you made them feel.




Companies Mentioned: 


About Our Host 

Nella Pang 

I left the corporate world in 2020 and launched Omega RE a commercial advisory firm in a pandemic, whilst on maternity. Brave some people would say. 🚀 

The pandemic has taught many of us a thing or two, particularly on how we can do business. I support businesses to navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate, so they can achieve their business objectives through their Real Estate decisions. 

Lease negotiations can be a minefield. Even small mistakes can drive up costs. That’s why I will represent your interests every step of the way, ensuring you receive full value of our experience and market knowledge. 

With over 18 years’ experience in the Commercial Property Market having worked for the big corporates Jones Lang LaSalle Limited, BNP Paribas Real Estate and Vail Williams. 

I want to be able to share my corporate knowledge with my clients, whilst offering a more personal dedicated commercial advisory service. 

Having acted for a wide range of clients from major pension funds to private investors, small businesses and individuals. I love meeting people and I am passionate about adding value to my clients business and watching their business thrive. 

About Omega RE 

Omega RE is a commercial property advisory firm based on the South Coast. Providing expert advice to Landlords, Occupiers in the industrial, office and retail markets. 

Omega RE is always thinking ‘Outside the Box’ in our advice to clients and the way we do business. We don’t settle for mediocre, we challenge the norm and are dedicated to finding solutions that is best for our clients. 

We are a people business, based on strong relationships and partnerships, and we offer a personal level of service. 

As the market evolves, we will too adapt to be successful and want the same for our clients. We are committed to finding innovative ways of marketing and how to do things more efficiently. 

We will never stagnate. 

We are disciplined in everything we do, we take time to understand the situation and set a bespoke strategy for each client. Not one size fits all. We do not cut corners or take short cuts and our integrity is undisputed. 

Providing clients’ a hands on approach to finding the perfect property; office, industrial, warehouse or retail space to meet business needs and negotiating the best commercial lease terms, is what we do best. 

We come to work because we’re passionate about providing expert, innovative, independent advice to clients. We want to help businesses navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate. 

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