The firms invited by the Shoreditch New Deal Trust to produce a development "vision" for 20 estates in Shoreditch are multidisciplinary consultants Tibbalds Monroe, RMJM and Ove Arup & Partners; architects Sheppard Robson and Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners; and regeneration specialists the Civic Trust Regeneration Unit and Urban Initiatives.
The firms will submit preliminary proposals to the trust by 1 April, which will then compile a shortlist. The trust is community-based, and includes one Hackney council representative, with other members drawn from local residents, tenants' associations, businesses and service organisations. It consists of a 26-strong board and four area forums.
Shoreditch trust was one of 10 successful first-round bidders for the New Deal for Communities fund, which offers up to £50m over three years. The allocation was announced last month by deputy prime minister John Prescott on a visit to Shoreditch, accompanied by chancellor Gordon Brown and housing minister Hilary Armstrong
The government's New Deal for Communities was launched last September, with £800m available over three years to tackle social exclusion and the gap between Britain's poorest neighbourhoods and the rest of the country.
The masterplanning brief issued to the seven consultants requires them to liaise with the local community and other consultants involved with the community before drawing up their plans.
These will include estimates of the estates' regeneration potential and the condition of the current housing stock.
It then invites them to present proposals for a working urban neighbourhood. "It should include all the best features of mixed development. It should be aspirational, but also realistic, viable and achievable," states the trust's brief.
It should include all the best features of mixed development. It should be aspirational, but realistic, viable and achievable
Shoreditch New Deal Trust
The consultants' proposals will inform the trust's delivery plan for a regeneration strategy for Shoreditch.
The plan must accompany its stage-two funding bid to the government in July 1999.
Consultants are invited to submit their proposals and a suggested timescale for completion of the masterplan by June 1999.
Steven Hill, director of Capital Action, which advised Hackney council on its stage-one bid, said: "There is a lot of housing in Shoreditch that needs looking at – about 7000 dwellings altogether.
"Individual architects will do optional appraisals of estates or groups of estates. We will get together a body of information that will equip local people with an understanding of what the choices might be.
"Next year, some of these options will be fed into a masterplanning process.
"We hope to appoint a masterplanner through an international competition to do a short piece of masterplanning work.