The threat of a compulsory purchase order is hanging over land owned by Tesco in Sunderland city centre.

Rival developers are fighting Tesco's plans to build a store there. It's emerged the city council or the regional development agency One North East could slap the order on the 16-acre site.

Sunderland Council's planners have started advertising for companies to help develop the area.

It is five years since Tesco bought the former Vaux site, which is in the middle of a four-mile area called Sunderland Arc, and is central to council plans for an office and apartment development.

The council believes the supermarket could be placed elsewhere.

The result of a public inquiry was set to be announced last year, but has been delayed until April.

"We have listened to the views of local stakeholders and moved to a mixed-use scheme, which meets regeneration aims," said Max Curtis, corporate affairs manager for Tesco.