Tesco and The Co-operative Group are behind two of the 15 eco-towns shortlisted for potential development by the government.

Jarrow Investments is project managing a proposed eco-town in Hanley Grange, Cambridgeshire, on behalf of Tesco while The Co-operative Estates, the land and property arm of The Co-op Group, has proposed an eco-town in Pennbury, Leicestershire.

Although plans for both schemes are still at an early stage, the developments are likely to include environmentally friendly stores. Tesco's eco-town could include 8,000 homes, while the Co-op's could include between 12,000 and 15,000.

However, Tesco's involvement in the eco-town has sparked claims that it deliberately withheld its identity from planning proposals by submitting the plans through Jarrow Investments.

Tesco denied the allegations. "It has been public knowledge for more than a year-and-a-half that Tesco had land interest at Hanley Grange," a spokesman said. "The land included in the development is held by other landowners as well as Tesco."

Lynda Shillaw, MD of the Co-operative Estates, added: "If anyone can deliver the eco-town vision, it is the Co-op Group. Our track record on environmental and community issues is exemplary, whether it is in working to combat climate change or working with people to improve community life."

The 15 towns on the shortlist will be whittled down to 10 sites in the next six months. Ministers are hoping five of the towns will be built by 2016 and the remaining sites by 2020.