FOUR heavyweight developers are fighting to carry out the £1billion rebuild of Basildon town centre.

Basildon Council has announced the four construction groups shortlisted to bid for the contract.

The big-hitting partnerships feature some of the best-known housebuilders in the country paired with developers of major commercial centres.

Council leader Malcolm Buckley said: "We had several applicants made up of strong developers, but the final four all have the clout, experience and financial power to deliver the plans."

The four groups, set up to bid for the masterplan contract, are made up of:

  • John Laing, Gladedale and Scarborough Developments
  • Lend Lease and British Land
  • Taylor Wimpey and Quintain
  • Wilson Bowden and Barratt Homes.

The groups will now have to enter bids telling how they will deliver the masterplan over 15 to 20 years. The council will select the "winning" contractor next summer.

Stephen Horgan, the councillor responsible for regeneration, said: "This is a major milestone in taking forward the regeneration of Basildon town centre.

"We are delighted to be at this stage in the process, and are now excited at the prospect of more dialogue."

"This process will ensure that Basildon finds a partner which makes a long-term commitment, ensuring the best for the council and its partners, but most importantly the very best for our community."

The masterplan promises around 3,000 homes, new shopping centres, revamped rail, bus and taxi station, plus a new theatre, civic centre and a boosted night-time economy.

Ian Butt, project director for Basildon town centre, said: "This follows hot on the heels of the news the Learning and Skills Council is investing tens of millions of pounds in a new college campus at the heart of the town centre.

"This proves Basildon town centre is attracting high-quality investment.

"Basildon town centre will become the destination in the South East for living, playing, shopping, business and learning."

How they line up

ALL four groups have plenty of experience of high-profile, multi-million pound developments, as this rundown shows: l Taylor WimpEy and Quintain: The newly-merged Taylor WimpEy group is one of the UK's biggest housebuilders, with interests in North America, Spain and Gibraltar, too.

Quintain was behind the Millennium Dome, plus regeneration on the Greenwich Peninsula and around the Wembley Arena and conference centre site.

  • Lendlease and British Land:

Lendlease is the multi-national concern building the Olympic Village at Stratford It also built Bluewater shopping centre.

British Land owns Basildon's Eastgate Centre and similar centres in Woking and Aberdeen.

It has a stake in 38 department stores. Countryside Properties and East Thames Housing Association are also in the group.

  • John Laing, Gladedale and Scarborough Developments:

John Laing redeveloped Shoebury Garrison and among other projects, built South East Essex College, Southend.

Gladedale is the UK's fifth biggest housebuilder.

Scarborough Developments is an international commercial buildings specialist.

  • Wilson Bowden and Barratt Homes:

Barratt is another big-league housebuilder.

Wilson Bowden has carried out town centre developments in Wrexham, Bishops Stortford and Southampton.