Canterbury Bid

Board Candidates

Canterbury BID invites nominations to the Board of Directors at the beginning of every BID term to serve on the Board until the end of the term (the current term runs until September 2024). The candidates are listed below along with their reasons for wanting to join the BID Board. You can find more information on the nomination and selection process here.

The Candidates

Name: Alexandra Gordon

Business: Brachers

Job title: Partner

Sector representation: Business / Professional Services

I believe I would be a suitable member of the BID Board because:

  • I know and understand the city as a student, worker (10 years) and resident (17 years).
  • I consider myself to be well-connected and an active member of the Canterbury business community. This has helped me build an understanding of what businesses need to thrive in the city.
  • I want to make a meaningful contribution to the future development and economic success of the city centre
  • I am an experienced and enthusiastic networker which enables me to be an advocate for the BID and its objectives
  • As president of the Kent Law Society, I can voice the concerns and views of the legal sector, and professional services more widely, in BID meetings -an important business group for the city centre’s future
  • I actively support local charities, particularly those working with the vulnerable and I would like to ensure that BID strategies are supportive of those less fortunate in the city.

Name: Blake McCaskill

Business: Republic Events

Job title: Director

Sector representation: Hospitality and Night Time Economy

I believe I have brought a lot of positive input to the board whilst serving for the last couple of years. I have a genuine passion for Canterbury and contribute to pushing it forwards in terms of events, festival, and nightlife.

My work includes events such as: CSP In The Park, City Sound Project, Oktoberfest, and more recently City Feast and Canterbury Drive-In Cinema. Through these events I am able to work with numerous stakeholders and expend the first-hand knowledge and experience in the field.

My work within the Night Time Economy is unique as I work as a promoter under my brands Student Republic and City Sound Project rather than a venue owner. I have relationships and partnerships with multiple venues and represent them through my work. Again this gives me a broad experience and an ear-to-the-ground, enabling me to report from a certain perspective. It also aids Purple Flag assessments, communications and relations. I am dedicated to working in the interest of BID levy payers, and helping to deliver the BID’s business plan.

Name: Bobby Gordon

Business: Fella

Job title: Director

Sector representation: Independent Retail

Having owned a business in Canterbury for over 11 years, I feel I have a lot to offer and would be a suitable member of the BID board.

Fella is a very busy barber shop. Because of this, I get to meet and talk to many different types of people who live and work in the city. We get to know pretty much everything that’s going on and talked about in Canterbury every day.

I have a good connection with the people and business owners already. I’m sure being part of the BID board will only strengthen these relationships. I also have been part of the team that set up Cene Magazine 3 years ago, which most of you are familiar with. This really came about because of my passion and belief in what Canterbury and the rest of Kent have to offer.

Name: Clare Millett

Business: Westgate Hall

Job title: Director

Sector representation: Hospitality

I was delighted to be voted onto the BID Board 3 years ago and commit to its objectives. I have:

  • attended almost 100% of all Board meetings
  • contributed vocally to the strategic direction of the BID Business Plan
  • ensured an action-focused agenda as Chair of the BID’s Events and Marketing Sub Committee (representing a cross-section of Canterbury businesses)
  • chaired Committee meetings via Zoom during Covid-19 lockdown to ensure continued communication with levy payers and capacity to address and navigate Covid-19 critical issues
  • attended regular meetings with Lisa to assess the city’s business climate to ensure the Event and Marketing Committee plans strategically and has a clear voice at Board meetings

I am passionate about Canterbury – I’ve adopted it since leaving London. Westgate Hall is a significant venue and business for all our city’s communities. It is now considered “a pillar of the city!”

We need the BID more than ever. It guarantees communication between the Council, businesses and communities and generates events which attract the resources needed to ensure a great flourishing future for Canterbury.

Name: Clive Relf

Business: Kreston Reeves

Job title: Partner

Sector representation: Business / Professional Services

As an employer of 150 in the city and a keen enthusiast for “all things Canterbury” I’m in a phase of my career where I would like to “give back”. I’m also conscious that I need to mentor a successor as the BID’s Chair so would value another term as director to achieve this.

Name: Dan Grimwood

Business: Refectory Kitchen

Job title: Owner

Sector representation: Hospitality

I care about the future prosperity of Canterbury and its businesses. I feel I can add real value in being able to represent on the Board the many small independents, especially in the area hospitality of which Canterbury has so many. After running a business in St Dunstan’s for the last 17 years I see myself as a link between the BID and this important part of the city.

Name: David Lewis

Business: Café des Amis / Café du Soleil

Job title: Director

Sector representation: Hospitality and Night Time Economy

I have been running busy hospitality businesses in Canterbury for over 20 years. I have a deep commitment to the city, understand how the economy in it works and what it needs to help it to continue to grow. Having lived here much of my life, but also having moved around and travelled widely, I have a strong sense of what makes Canterbury a great and unique place both for locals and visitors alike.

The diverse businesses in Canterbury provide both employment to residents and entice visitors, sitting comfortably alongside the cultural attractions and enhancing the overall visitor experience of the city, whether as a local, a day shopper or a holiday maker. Promoting Canterbury and giving businesses the support to grow as the BID does, is good for them and makes Canterbury an ever better place to live, work and visit and I want to help it thrive.

Name: David Lilford

Business: Lilford Gallery

Job title: Director

Sector representation: Independent Retail

I have been on the board of the Canterbury BID since its inception and have always taken an active part in the debates and discussions. I feel it’s vital to contribute representing, not just the independent retail sector in the city, but also the King’s Mile Quarter and the Castle Quarters where I have businesses.

I am currently treasurer of the Kings Mile Association and have been active during the continuing issues with the pandemic in disseminating the vital correct information and countering the gossip and hearsay. I believe strongly in the effectiveness of working together as a team and the BID is the ideal platform for us all to get together and work to help Canterbury develop and grow as a city. I feel I can continue to be the effective voice for the small independent businesses in the city.

Name: David Redgate

Business: Girlings Solicitors

Job title: Partner

Sector representation: Business / Professional Services

I have been a Director of the BID since the last election and in that time I have contributed generally at board meetings but also I have been able to provide the BID with a legal opinion and advice on contractual matters. I can be a representative of business and professional services and I have an insight into landlord and tenant matters as a commercial property Solicitor.

Name: Iain Oliver

Business: McDonalds

Job title: Business Manager

Sector representation: Hospitality and Night Time Economy

This is an opportunity where I believe my position as Business Manager of one of the busiest town centre McDonalds in the country will benefit Canterbury BID. As well as having links to the national level of the business which can provide valuable information to all aspects of the hospitality sector, we are one of the busiest retailers in the city. In 2019 we served 1.3m customers either in-store or by our very successful delivery operations and employed over 170 people.

At a local level I am involved with the Purple Flag committee as well as having good communication links with the police, council, university and colleges, other local businesses, charities and youth clubs. The role of McDonalds in the local community is extremely important to me and from my position I can see first-hand the challenges and opportunities that Canterbury has in all forms.

Name: Joanna Richardson

Business: Shepherd Neame

Job title: Head of Marketing, Brands and Communications

Sector representation: Hospitality and Night Time Economy

With 6 pubs within the Canterbury BID area, over 300 pubs in the South East and brewing heritage in nearby Faversham since 1698, Shepherd Neame has an extensive footprint to promote both Canterbury and Kent to a wide audience.  I lead the marketing strategy across the pub estate, visitor centre and international beer business and have played an extensive role in developing the relationship with the BID and various partners and cross-business initiatives within the Canterbury area, including Visit Kent, Kent Cricket and the county-wide Green Hop Beer Festival led by The Foundry.  Being at the heart of the community is key and we achieve this by maintaining an active role within the local area, building partnerships with other local businesses and working together to attract new audiences.  As a Canterbury resident I am fully committed to helping drive the BID agenda and supporting the return to a new normal. I also joined the Board of Visit Kent in January 2021.

Name: Jon Mills

Business: The Foundry

Job title: Owner

Sector representation: Hospitality and Night Time Economy

I have worked in Canterbury for over 25 years in a diverse number of roles. I think this gives me unique knowledge and experience of a number of areas that are of importance to BID.

I was at Kent University Students Union for a decade and opened their first bar which was so successful it led to the Venue Nightclub, restaurant and bar being built. I was involved from the design and build stage to the enormously successful opening and running.

I went on to develop a number of businesses for Kent Union and left as senior management. The procedures I put in place at the Venue for public safety and welfare were used as examples nationally by both the council and the police. As a result I then ran the second biggest nightclub in the City as it had run into licensing issues. This was with full council and police support and i had a successful time there.

I have owned three pubs in the City and continue with The Foundry Brew Pub which is not only a very busy restaurant and bar but is turning into a real tourist attraction. We are running at 85% tourism during the Covid crisis.

I have 4 children at school in the City and my wife and I live in St Stephen’s. I am genuinely proud to live here and want to see Canterbury develop in all the right ways.

Name: Karl Elliott

Business: Clague Architects

Job title: Managing Partner

Sector representation: Business / Professional Services

I am currently a Board Director of Canterbury BID and have decided to put forward my name for a second term.  As managing Partner of Clague Architects based in central Canterbury we have an affinity with the place and the spaces in which we live and work. Over my time in Canterbury, I have witnessed many changes. 

Unfortunately, Canterbury City centre is currently facing change yet again. This is due to a number of factors in particular the rise of internet shopping and COVID 19 both of which are forcing City centre businesses to re look at how they operate and where they operate from.  

This re focusing will lead undoubtably to change and in particular how our City adapts, transforms and finds a new focus where retail will form a smaller part of a wider range of uses and activities where green space, leisure, arts and culture and health and social care services will combine with housing to create a space-based on social and community interactions.

Name: Mark Pegg

Business: Loake Shoemakers

Job title: Head of Business

Sector representation: Independent Retail

As an experienced retail manager who has worked in the city for over 20 years, I believe I bring valuable understanding of the challenges and opportunities that face the city.

I have worked closely with the BID through representing the Cathedral Quarter and already sit on the BID’s Events and Marketing Sub Committee.

I have always been a firm supporter of the BID and believe that it has a vital role in the city. I would really like the opportunity to join the BID Board so that I can use my experience and knowledge to help and support Canterbury and its businesses.

Name: Matthew Arnold

Business: Stagecoach

Job title: Business Development Director

Sector representation: General

Stagecoach has a key presence within Canterbury, not only as the predominant local bus operator but also as owner and operator of the bus station in St Georges Lane -a key gateway to the city. East Kent Road Car Company Limited, was formed in 1916 and has had its headquarters in the city for 97 of the past 104 years. One of the largest employers, some 220 staff are currently employed in the Canterbury area.

I am responsible for stakeholder engagement; I represent the company locally in the Chamber of Commerce’s Local Economic Development Group and the Canterbury4Business Group. I am also a Director of the South East Enterprise Partnership and vice-Chair of the Kent group of bus and coach industry’s Trade Association, the Confederation of Passenger Transport, thereby representing the interests of coach operators bringing tourists to the city.

Name: Michael Marsh

Business: Barclays Bank

Job title: Area Business Manager

Sector representation: Business / Professional Services

Canterbury has played a very important part of my life so far – I studied Economics at the University of Kent and lived in Canterbury for those three years. I have always worked in Canterbury as well and I am currently the Area Manager for the Barclays Business team.

I am hugely passionate about supporting businesses and Canterbury has always had a thriving business community. Canterbury is a fascinating city and really is a focal point in East Kent. The BID team plays a vital role in keeping it this way – there are the universities, national businesses, local businesses, tourists etc that are all after something slightly different and I would like to be a part of BID to help with this.

Name: Nicolas Hall

Business: Digital Tourism Think Tank

Job title: Founder and CEO

Sector representation: Business / Professional Services

I have been actively involved with the BID and other initiatives, supporting the development of Canterbury. Before the pandemic, I personally invested expertise, time and company resources in initiating the creation of a new ‘Castle Quarter’, supported by a committee of resident businesses. From a professional standpoint, I am considered to be one of the leading experts globally in the tourism industry, speaking at major industry conferences around the world and advising National, City and Regional tourism organisations on strategic matters from promotion through to development.

As founder of the Digital Tourism Think Tank, I have also made a significant contribution to the industry internationally. Having chosen Canterbury as a place to live and setup an international business, I am keen to support other businesses to see the same benefits, whilst supporting Canterbury to realise its full potential as one of the UK’s most important destinations.

Name: Paul Turner

Business: The Marlowe

Job title: Director of Finance

Sector representation: Hospitality and Night Time Economy

I believe that Canterbury needs a BID to continue developing the City Centre in to a vibrant, attractive place for people to visit and work, even more so since the COVID19 pandemic.  As a qualified chartered accountant with the ACCA and in my role as the Director of Finance at the Marlowe Theatre I understand the importance of governance in any organisation, even more so when it is the public’s money that is being spent.  To this end I have volunteered to chair the BID Finance Sub Committee for the last two years to ensure that policies and practices are in place to ensure that the appropriate use of funds for our Levy payers.

Name: Rachel Sanders

Business: BoConcept

Job title: Franchisee

Sector representation: Independent Retail

I believe that by collaborating with other business, together, we can create a better city centre. In these extraordinary times we require a different approach, that is innovative and can capture the imagination of the local population. Our city is for residents, students, tourists, the Cathedral, businesses and the broader Kent population and therefore a diverse set of propositions are required.

My own experiences include 25 years within professional services in the property and construction sector, running businesses and most recently running the Kent franchise of BoConcept.

I am innovative, driven and have an ability to influence at all levels. More importantly, I have a vested interest in the continued success of Canterbury and see a vibrant, exciting, diverse city as not only enjoyable and where I want to be, but also, vital to the success of my own business. What better reason is there?

Name: Sarah Wren

Business: Oscar and Bentleys

Job title: Owner

Sector representation: Hospitality and Night Time Economy

My admiration for the work of Canterbury’s BID has grown enormously over the years, which has led me to become increasingly involved, most notably

  • Attending the Marketing & Events sub-committee meetings during lockdown
  • Speaking to the Council at the Guildhall to support BID’s second term
  • Attending BID networking meetings at other local businesses

I have been running my restaurant, Oscar & Bentleys for over seven years, having previously run a construction company.  I have a plethora of skills that I believe will be a useful addition to the board

  • I’m a realistic optimist, I always look for positive solutions
  • I’m creative, particularly when problem solving
  • I can see through noise & focus on the job at hand
  • Formal training as an economist makes me a good strategic thinker
  • I’m ideas led but also ensure follow-through

Once my business was established, I started becoming more involved with the local community.  I am on the board of the Westgate Hall Trust, so I am familiar with the process of sitting on a board. I reopened my business on the 4th July, as soon as we were able after lockdown, because I felt it was important to build confidence in the city.  As an industry we are lobbying for representation at government level, I would relish the opportunity to be part of the recovery program at local level, where our BID will be leading from the front.

Name: Simon Youden

Business: Fenwick

Job title: Store Director

Sector representation: National Retail – Position confirmed as only candidate nominated in this category

I have over 30 Years’ senior experience including working as Head of Retail at Harrods, General Manager at Harvey Nichols and Deputy Director of Luxury Brands at the Bicester Village Shopping Collection. My current role is that of Store Director of Fenwick, Canterbury.

My career path has allowed me to develop a strong commercial acumen with retail enabling me to drive my values through a high standard of business ethics and inclusive approach to all the facets of retail, allowing me to develop not just my senior management teams, which are at the heart of all that I strive to achieve, but to actively engage through a partnership approach in how retail sits within the wider community and the role it plays in influencing and working with local authorities to improve and drive local business initiatives.

I have demonstrated in the roles that I have held that building a network of connections both internally and externally is vital to the success of driving the continual improvement and development of local communities through an inclusive and collaborative team approach to the challenges we face: Now more than ever in these uncertain times has retail the opportunity to become a forward-thinking part of local life which in turn will make for positive improvements for our city of Canterbury.