INVESTORS behind a 1,300-job manufacturing park blueprint are preparing legal action against a council’s development plans.

The Town End Farm Partnership says it is looking to challenge Sunderland City Council’s 5,000-job International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) vision.

Town End wants to build the Wear Point 55 industrial hub next to Nissan’s bustling Sunderland plant, to house some of the manufacturer’s suppliers as it ramps up production of new Qashqai and X-Trail models in the region.

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However, the council previously rejected the plans, saying they were “premature”, and the authority said it is pressing ahead with its own blueprint to service Nissan’s supply stream by working alongside South Tyneside Council and Henry Boot Developments on the IAMP’s first phase, which it says has already stimulated interest from potential tenants.

But Town End bosses say the authority and its partners risk wasting millions of pounds of investment and undermining the IAMP’s wider, long-term future by failing to meet a critical land procurement deadline.

Peter Razaq, Town End director, said suppliers will need to be on site by 2019 to ready themselves for Nissan’s anticipated 2020 roll-out of its new models, which only his organisation’s plans can realistically achieve.

Newcastle-born Mr Razaq, who co-founded the Kans and Kandy wholesaler group, based in Seaham, east Durham, also said Town End’s plans, which the developer intends to re-submit, will save the taxpayer up to £22m.

He said: “The council’s decision to press ahead without Town End, having previously supported our development plans from their inception, sends a very worrying message to investors that Sunderland is not a reliable business partner.

“This presents a real risk that millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is going to be ploughed into a development that is working against the interests of the very businesses the council is hoping to attract.”

However, officials from both councils say the authorities are confidently moving forward with their plans, which they believe will deliver more than £400m of private sector investment over the next decade.

A spokesman said: “Sunderland and South Tyneside councils, with partner Henry Boot Developments, are pressing ahead with their work on a preferred site for the first phase of the IAMP.

“An application is now validated and will be determined in due course.

“Henry Boot Developments have submitted the application and Sunderland and South Tyneside councils have already acquired all of the land required to deliver IAMP One.

“With a pledge of £42m from the Government and support from the business community, IAMP is about attracting more than 5,000 jobs and developing a world-class environment for high-tech industries and advanced manufacturing.”

Nissan previously revealed its near 7,000-strong job Sunderland plant will make new Qashqai and X-Trail models after Government Brexit talks.