Architect Chetwood Associates and EDAW have each won masterplans for a large port scheme.
Chetwood will oversee the redevelopment of the former Shellhaven oil refinery site in Stanford le Hope, a scheme understood to be valued at £750m.

EDAW is to create a regeneration strategy for the Fish Quay port, next to North Shields town centre.

The Shellhaven scheme, on a 1500-acre site, will create the largest container port in the UK, together with industrial office blocks and housing. It is being led by P&O Developments and Shell, the former owner of the refinery, which signed a deal to develop the site last summer.

Paul Hinkin, a director of Chetwood, said the scheme was on a crucial site. He said: "It's of strategic significance for the area. It can open up the whole of the east Thames area to redevelopment."

Stephen Kerridge, a director of P&O, said the scheme would consist of 1 million square meters of industrial and office space, principally warehousing. The housing element is not expected to be a significant part of the scheme.

Kerridge said the scheme would have to deal with road, rail and water access. He added that the development team had to complete a number of environmental assessments before going ahead with the scheme. Kerridge added that Chetwood was chosen because of its previous experience in port schemes.

This can open up the whole east Thames area to development

Paul Hinkin, director, Chetwood

The project team also includes engineer Oscar Faber, marine engineer Halcrow, landscape architect Roger Griffiths and QS Robinson Lowe Francis.

A planning application is expected to be lodged at the end of the year, with work due to start next year, after a public inquiry into the scheme. The scheme is expected to be completed by 2005.

The EDAW scheme, for North Tyneside Council, will look at developing tourism and leisure in the Fish Quay port.

The practice will spend four months drawing up a strategy for the port, including improving the links with North Shields and improving historic buildings.