Cheltenham BID appoints new chief executive to lead its second term

Bristol BID's head of projects will oversee Cheltenham Business Improvement District which has seen £3.8 million invested into the town centre since its formation in 2016.

By Emma Luther  |  Published
Francesca Inman was part of the regeneration team at North Somerset Council that created Weston-Super-Mare's first co-working hub.

On Tuesday 7 May 2024, there'll be a fresh face at the helm of Cheltenham Business Improvement District.

Francesca Inman will take up the reins as the new chief executive as current leader Heath Gunter moves to a new role in education.

Francesca joins the BID from Bristol BIDs; Bristol City Centre BID, Broadmead BID, and Redcliffe and Temple BID, where she is currently head of projects.

She brings a wealth of experience with previous roles in the regeneration team at North Somerset Council, which created Weston-Super-Mare's first co-working hub, along with a variety of event and technology positions.

Francesca will be responsible for leading the work of the BID which has seen £3.8 million invested into the town centre since its formation in 2016.

Chair of Cheltenham BID, Alex Rose, said: 'I am delighted Francesca has agreed to lead Cheltenham BID as we approach a crucial phase leading up to our reballot in 2026.

'Following a rigorous recruitment process, Francesca emerged as the top candidate among a highly competitive pool. Myself, the board, and the entire BID team are very excited for the future.'

Francesca is keen to get cracking. She said: ‘I am thrilled to be joining Cheltenham BID as its new chief executive to continue the great work the team has achieved over the past eight years. 

'I can see just how much Cheltenham has changed since the implementation of the BID and the positive impact it is having. I am eager to meet all the local businesses, communities, and partners to ensure we continue to support and celebrate Cheltenham as the fantastic town it is.

'Together, I am looking forward to embarking on a journey of collaboration, prosperity and building a legacy that resonates far beyond our streets.'

In July 2021, the BID secured its second term with a yes vote totalling 86 per cent from the more than 300 businesses (a 46 per cent turnout) that responded to the ballot and a 90 per cent yes vote by rateable value.

Over recent years, the BID navigated more than 700 businesses through the pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, with Cheltenham’s economy showing resilience by outperforming many larger towns and cities both nationally and regionally.

The BID has established several annual events including the Cheltenham Observation Wheel, Cheltenham Food + Drink week, Wimbledon Big Screen, the Around Town programmes that bring Cheltenham’s famous Jazz, Music, Science and Literature Festivals onto the town’s streets and the Christmas launch event.

As well as events, the BID provides support and guidance for businesses, facilitates partnerships, represents and champions town centre businesses and delivers cost saving initiatives.

The team has also introduced BID in Bloom and Tidy Up Cheltenham to improve the appearance of the town centre for residents and visitors. 

The BID’s second term runs through to 31 March 2026 and sees delivery focused on business support, marketing and promotion, town centre events and townscape enhancements.

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