THE long-awaited Basildon masterplan looks set to become reality with the council about hire building consortium Barratt Homes Wilson Bowden to rebuild the town centre.

The partnership between Barratt, which specialises in residential houses and flats, and Wilson Bowden, which will concentrate on rebuilding the shopping area, was discussed at last night’s full council meeting in the Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square.

The consortium must now draw up detailed plans for the £1billion scheme within the next 12 months.

This comes four years after the ruling Tory administration first published its draft Basildon masterplan for the town centre.

Tony Ball, leader of the council, said: “This is a momentous day for Basildon and I am delighted to announce Barratt Wilson Bowden as our long-term development partner.

“I am confident we will be able to deliver our exciting vision for Basildon town centre together.

“This is a long-term project which will help to get Basildon back into the top 50 town centres in the country, where it belongs.

“With a new and improved shopping and leisure experience, more jobs and homes, this will help create a new economic vibrancy to the town centre.”

It is estimated the scheme will take 20 years to complete.

Mr Ball added: “The regeneration is about the whole town centre, not just the shopping streets.

“The plans extend beyond the shopping core, providing opportunities to maximise the range of facilities and job creation.”