The £40 million regeneration of St Austell town centre has taken another step forward with the appointment of a firm of top architects to transform the scheme into reality.

Developer David McLean Developments has appointed Edward Cullinan Architects, who have more than 30 years' experience working on a wide range of prestigious developments, to finalise detailed proposals in preparation for a planning application later this year.

A new timetable for the regeneration scheme has also been drawn up from now until January, when the first demolitions will start on site.

John Allen, of David McLean Developments, said: "I'm delighted that Edward Cullinan Architects are on board, bringing with them their experience of mixed-use town and city centre developments, many of which blend the old with the new.

"We've been working on the outline details of the St Austell scheme for some time, and have now moved into the detailed planning phase, taking account of comments from local people made during our extensive public consultation."

Ted Cullinan, of Edward Cullinan Architects, said: "The redevelopment of this part of St Austell offers a unique opportunity to create a vibrant new area that complements its many historical attributes. It's a very exciting project and we're looking forward to exhibiting our plans later this year."

The town centre regeneration is a partnership between the South West Regional Development Agency, Restormel borough council and David McLean Developments, and aims to breathe new life into an area of St Austell that has suffered from years of neglect.

Miles Carden, SWRDA development manager for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: "With the architects now working on detailed plans, we've drawn up a revised timetable of activity for the whole scheme, and we are keeping traders in the town up to date with all the latest developments."

The first detailed drawings of the redevelopment scheme are underway and will go on public display in The Engine House, in Aylmer Square, in October. This will be followed by a planning application to Restormel council in November, with the hope of a determination by January.

If the application is approved, demolition work on some of the buildings around Aylmer Square, that have been purchased by SWRDA as part of its £5 million investment, will commence, in preparation for construction of the first phase of the new scheme.