At the end of last month, Communities Minister Ruth Kelly picked Piers Gough's CZWG practice's proposal - led by regeneration company Sunderland Arc - to build 1,000 new homes, office, leisure and retail units plus two hotels. The decision left Aukett Fiztroy Robinson's Tesco-led scheme on the drawing-office floor.( Gough triumphs over Aukett in Vaux Brewery battle )
Max Curtis, corporate affairs manager at Tesco, said: 'We have taken this step reluctantly. As owners of the site, it is not in our interest to see it remain derelict and unused. We have long made it clear that we would prefer to work in partnership with Sunderland Arc.
'Working together there is the potential to develop a world-class proposal for this derelict land at no cost to the public purse. We hope that the planning situation can be resolved swiftly and that the site can be developed for the benefit of the city.'
In a statement David Walker, Sunderland Arc operations director, said Tesco's move to challenge Kelly's decision would 'lead to more delays and more frustration.'