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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 17:39 GMT
Legal challenge over store plan
Old Vaux site
The riverside site has stood empty since 1999
Supermarket giant Tesco is taking legal action over its plans for a former brewery site in Sunderland.

The firm wants a mix of shops and homes on the former Vaux site, but has been blocked by Sunderland Council's rules, which prevent any retail developments.

Tesco, which bought the site in 2001 and has lodged three unsuccessful planning applications, said it wanted a court to make a definitive ruling.

The council said it was considering the implications of the legal challenge.

Tesco claims the regeneration of the city is being "hindered" because of Sunderland Council's Unitary Development Plan (UDP), which bans any retail development of the Vaux site.

'World-class project'

The company also said it was not properly consulted during a recent public inquiry, which ruled in favour of the council's UDP.

Max Curtis, corporate affairs manager at Tesco, said: "Tesco shares local people's frustration that the Vaux site has stood derelict for so long.

"Our view has always been that the Vaux site has the potential to be a world-class project that includes a mix of uses including public space, houses, offices, cafes and restaurants as well as a Tesco store."

A spokesman for Sunderland City Council said: "We have received notice from Tesco that they will challenge the city council's adoption of the Unitary Development Plan.

"We are now considering the implications of the legal challenge and our response to it."



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