A FORMER brewery site has attracted interest from developers keen to revitalise it.

Councillor Colin Anderson, leader of Sunderland City Council, has revealed that inquiries have been made relating to the former Vaux site, in St Mary's Way, Sunderland.

The site, once one of the city's main employers, closed in July 1999.

Since then, it has lain dormant as its owner, Whitbread, and the council decided its future.

Coun Anderson and his colleagues expect to finalise its compulsory purchase in the New Year.

Their patience has been tested by Whitbread's insistence that the site is worth £20m, when they claim it is worth only about £12m.

If an agreement cannot be reached, the matter may go to a public inquiry.

Coun Anderson said: "We are hoping the compulsory purchase order attracts interest from developers and there have been inquiries, so clearly people are very interested."

Although councillors agreed to the compulsory purchase order last month, Coun Anderson said the paperwork was still to be finalised and could take up to 18 months.

He said he felt "almost certain" the issue of the site's value would result in a public inquiry.

The council wants to see a mixture of developments on the Vaux site, such as shopping, housing and businesses.

Councillors also want to establish if the former Brewery Tap pub is a listed building before deciding on its future.

Investigations are continuing into whether there are valuable archaeological remains under the Vaux site.