Big-scheme build­ing boss proud of his fi­nal project

Ge­off’s ma­jor projects have trans­formed our coun­try Ex­clu­sive

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - By Ai­dan Bar­low

A builder who has spent his work­ing life on con­struc­tion sites such as the Olympic Park and Blue­wa­ter shop­ping centre is set to com­plete his fi­nal project in Ash­ford.

Ge­off Burn­ing­ham, 65, is a con­struc­tion di­rec­tor for Lendlease, the firm de­liv­er­ing the £75 mil­lion cin­ema and ho­tel scheme in Ash­ford town centre.

The de­vel­op­ment on the site of the former cat­tle mar­ket will in­clude six screens op­er­ated by Pic­ture­house, eight restau­rants, a 58-room ho­tel op­er­ated by Trav­elodge and 282 park­ing spa­ces.

It will be the fi­nal con­struc­tion site for Mr Burn­ing­ham, who first started as a car­pen­ter at the age of 16 af­ter leav­ing Mar­gate Col­lege in 1967.

He said: “I’ve worked on res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial sites and some re­ally big projects, in­clud­ing the Olympics, the Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum and Channel 4’s new head­quar­ters.

“I worked from start to fin­ish at the Blue­wa­ter shop­ping centre, which is one of the best things in Kent, in my view. I’m very proud of it. It was done at the same time as my son was born, which was bril­liant.

“At t he I mpe­rial War Mu­seum, we moved tanks and Spit­fires to cre­ate a new atrium for the First World War ex­hi­bi­tion, which was opened by Prince Wil­liam. The his­tory of the place was un­be­liev­able.”

The father-of-four said the main change over the past 50 years has been the ar­rival of health and safety laws and re­called that when he first started he didn’t need to wear a hard hat on site.

Mr Burn­ing­ham, who lives in Whit­stable, said he feels emo­tional that his last project will be back in Kent, where he first started.

He said he thinks the scheme will make a big dif­fer­ence to the town.

He said: “This de­vel­op­ment just opens up the whole length of this area. With the col­lege open­ing soon, it will be a great area which will start blos­som­ing.

“Peo­ple have to go to an­other part of Ash­ford for the other cin­ema but an aw­ful lot of peo­ple cross the bridge here ev­ery day and this de­vel­op­ment will be next door to them.”

The site work is due to fin­ish at the end of 2018 and Mr Burn­ing­ham then hopes to en­joy his re­tire­ment with his boat in Whit­stable.

Ge­off Burn­ing­ham will com­plete his fi­nal project in Ash­ford (artist’s im­pres­sion be­low) be­fore retiring

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