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Essex commuter town to get £1bn makeover

Amibitious plans for a £1 billion transformation of a run-down Essex commuter town have attracted four bidders.

Amibitious plans for a £1 billion transformation of a run-down Essex commuter town have attracted four bidders.

Basildon District Council has asked a team featuring John Laing and developers Gladedale and Scarborough to go up against a pairing of Australian developer Lend Lease and British Land.

House building giant Taylor Wimpey has teamed up with Quintain, the firm behind much of the current revamp of Wembley in north London, while Wilson Bowden has linked up with Barratt Homes following the publication of the Official Journal notice earlier this summer.

All four partnerships have begun talks with the council and local regeneration firm Basildon Renaissance, which includes representatives from the council, the Government, English Partnerships and Thames Gateway.

Tenders are due to be submitted next June with a winner due to be announced later in the summer.

The development will see a large-scale rebuild of Basildon town centre, including extensive residential, retail and office space, a new town hall, a new hotel, and a plan to draw the town’s green spaces into the middle of town.

Many of the 1960s buildings are in need of urgent repair. Large areas of the town, which is also home to a factory for car giant Ford, are set to be torn down.

In all, 49,000 sq m is being earmarked for retail and leisure with 53,000 sq m of commercial floor space planned. More than 3,500 homes are to be built plus a further 4,000 sq m of land designated for community use.

Stephen Horgan, Basildon council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We’re delighted to have got to this stage in the process and we’re now excited at the -prospect of entering the dialogue stage.”

The town will also see two other separate major developments in the coming years: a sports village in the heart of its parkland and a further education college in the town centre.

The same council is also planning a £100 million-plus regeneration of neighbouring Wickford.

Detailed plans for the redevelopment of Pitsea and Laindon town centres, both on the edge of Basildon, are also set to be unveiled.