A LONG-RUNNING planning stalemate over the former Vaux brewery site in Sunderland has come to an end with an agreement by Tesco to sell the land to regional development agency One North East.

Sunderland City Council, announcing the significant step forward yesterday, said the development paved the way to the site being transformed into a new business district to attract developments, create jobs and further improve the city’s economy.

Tesco had been locked in dispute with regeneration company Sunderland arc since it bought the site in 2001.

City council leader Councillor Paul Watson said: “I am pleased to announce that Tesco has signed an agreement in principle to transfer ownership of the Vaux site to One North East.

“This is a significant step forward in the redevelopment of this key strategic site.

“It has been achieved as a result of lengthy but very productive negotiations between the city council, its partners and Tesco.

“The development of the site is still some way off and it is vital for Sunderland’s future prosperity that we get it right.”

The council and its partners are in the final stages of developing an economic masterplan for Sunderland that will set out plans for regenerating the city, attracting businesses to invest and improving the skills, prosperity and lives of Sunderland people.

This is a long-term plan and successfully developing the Vaux site into a business hub is a key to its success.

Tesco has confirmed that it intends to focus on its plans for a supermarket on the Sunderland Retail Park site in Roker.

It is expected to submit a revised planning application for this major investment shortly.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Doug Wilson said last night: “We have been working closely with Sunderland City Council and other public sector bodies to resolve the status of the Vaux site and this agreement reflects a new spirit of partnership between us.

“Tesco remains committed to making a major investment into the city and today’s announcement is a significant step towards making this happen.”

Margaret Fay, chairwoman of One North East, said: “This is excellent news for Sunderland and for the North-East.

“The development of the former Vaux brewery land is pivotal to the future prosperity of the city centre.”