Thames Enterprise Park has taken a major step towards the economic development of the site of the former Coryton Refinery with the appointment of specialist contractor Brown and Mason Ltd to demolish the redundant refinery and boiler house.

A vision prepared by the owners of Thames Enterprise Park for creation of a centre of excellence in energy and environmental technologies won the support of Thurrock Council's Cabinet on 2 July 2014. Up to 400 acres of the 580-acre former refinery site is to be used for Thames Enterprise Park, with 122 acres immediately available and another 70 acres to be freed up by the clearance of the refinery.

Under Brown and Mason's contract, structures will be demolished down to the level of the concrete base, asbestos will be safely removed from the site, some units will be cleaned or decontaminated before removal and materials will be segregated to maximise potential for waste recycling.

The former refinery's tanks, jetties and loading racks are being converted into a deep water import and blending terminal at neighbouring Thames Oilport and will not be demolished under this contract. The poor condition of this infrastructure has meant that the conversion project continues to take longer than expected. The design for Thames Oilport is still under review and current efforts are on creating the optimum footprint, given the desire to maximise land available for redevelopment at Thames Enterprise Park.

Graham Alexander, head of business development at Thames Enterprise Park, comments, "The business of Thames Enterprise Park is progressing well ahead of our investment expectations. The potential of the site has become very obvious since we took ownership. It is a great strategic location for business and, as an established industrial site with river, road and pipeline access, has a unique set of attributes."

Cllr John Kent, leader of Thurrock Council, said: "While it's sad to see another of Thurrock's old landmarks disappear, at the same time it's exciting as another dynamic industry rises here and utilises our unique geographical advantages.

"The River Thames, the A13 and the M25 mean Thurrock is within reach of everywhere ñ whether in this country or abroad. That much of the site's infrastructure is being converted to a use that's new yet still related to the traditional oil industry is one thing, but that the rest will become part of the Thames Enterprise Park, something I see energising a superb new and innovative industry in Thurrock, is better still."

Brown and Mason is already on site and Thurrock's coastal landscape should start to change early next year. Demolition is expected to take approximately 2 years. The Dartford-based contractor will be using around 80 existing employees for the demolition, which will be overseen by a specialist team of 17 employed by Thames Enterprise Park.