SUPERMARKET company Tesco will tonight be questioned by members of a North-East city's business community over controversial plans for a prime site.

The former Vaux brewery site in Sunderland has been dormant for more than five years and has been set aside as a key location in the city's redevelopment.

The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) has agreed to host a meeting between Tesco officials and traders in the city whose businesses could be affected by the development.

The moves follows a revised planning application by Tesco for the site. The proposal from the company, which owns the 16-acre site, includes a supermarket, hotel, office space and housing.

A battle has been waged over the site, with Tesco coming against the urban regeneration company Sunderland Arc -the public group charged with transforming derelict areas of the city.

Sunderland Arc planned to use the Vaux site at the centre of plans to transform swathes of the city, including Holmeside and Sunniside.

Its plan, designed by architect Piers Gough, includes 1,000 apartments on the banks of the River Wear, 90,000sq ft of cafes, leisure and retail space and pedestrian squares.

Sunderland Arc said its £280m plan could create 6,000 jobs and 500,000sq ft of office space.

NECC Sunderland chairman Mick Thurlbeck said: "The battle for who develops the Vaux site will be fierce and we all have a duty to make sure the end result is a credit to the city of Sunderland."

The meeting will be at the Sunderland Marriott Hotel, Seaburn. Any businesspeople wanting to attend should arrive by 4.45pm.