A lengthy row over the development of a site owned by Tesco in Sunderland has taken another twist. Sunderland Arc, a regeneration company run by Sunderland Council, has advertised for a developer in the hope that work can finally get under way. It has also threatened to seek a compulsory purchase order if Tesco does not agree to its plans.

It is now seven years since Tesco bought the derelict 16-acre Vaux Brewery site for £13m. Its original plans to build a £150m development including a 110,000 sq ft supermarket, shops, homes and leisure facilities were opposed by Sunderland Arc. The regeneration company wanted to develop a four-mile swathe of land from city centre up the River Wear to the A19, which included the Vaux Brewery site. It submitted a rival plan in 2002, claiming 3,200 jobs were at stake. In 2006, a public inquiry approved Sunderland Arc’s plans, which included shops, homes, offices and a court building. Tesco is currently pursuing legal action through the High Court in a bid to block the plans.

In its latest move, Sunderland Arc has advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union for a developer for the Vaux site. It has suggested Tesco use another site two miles away at Sunderland Retail Park in Roker.

“We are reviewing our plans but we are still committed to a mixed use on the Vaux site, including a Tesco store,” a Tesco spokesman said.