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CZWG tightens its grip on Vaux Brewery site

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CZWG’s grip on the hotly disputed Vaux Brewery site in Sunderland is looking increasingly firm after a second government inspector found against a rival bid for the plot by supermarket giant Tesco.

Yesterday (8 August), a planning inspector agreed with the proposals laid out in Sunderland’s Unitary Development Plan (UDP) for a mixed-use redevelopment on the former brewery site, and went on to rule out any major retail scheme in the area.The move effectively sinks Tesco’s plans for a huge retail-led project on the site - originally designed by Michael Aukett - even though the retailer owns the brewery plot.The green light for Sunderland City Council and regeneration company Sunderland Arc’s ‘overarching strategy’ comes hot on the heels of an earlier decision by ex-communities minister Ruth Kelly, which also supported CZWG’s scheme for 1,000 new homes alongside office, leisure, retail and hotel space.Although Tesco has subsequently taken legal action against Kelly’s decision ( CZWG’s Vaux Brewery win to be challenged in High Court ), it now seems the retailer’s chances of building a large store on the site are becoming ever more slim.David Walker, chief executive of Sunderland Arc, said: ‘We welcome the inspector’s report into Sunderland’s UDP and are delighted at his decision not to allow large-scale retail on the Vaux site.’It is great news for the Arc and the people of Sunderland and comes on the back of the Secretary of State’s approval of our plans in March this year.’This is another step towards realising our vision for Vaux, which is a crucial gateway site. We now need to take the report away and analyse it more thoroughly in relation to Vaux and the Arc’s other key sites,’ he added.The altered UDP will be formally adopted by the city council next month.by Richard Waite

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