THOUSANDS of Wearsiders will be given a say on rival £280million plans to redevelop the former Vaux brewery.

For the first time, people across the city will be able to see how the Sunderland Area Regeneration Company (ARC) wants the former brewery to look, it was revealed today.

The shell of the brewery has almost disappeared - the landmark chimney was demolished last week and all that remains are piles of rubble and the shells of office buildings.

But if the Arc's plans get the go ahead, the land will be transformed into offices, homes, shops and a much-needed prestigious hotel.

Tom Macartney, chief executive of the Sunderland Area Regeneration Company (ARC), has billed his plans as a "practical, long-lasting solution to overcome the city's problems".

Arc bosses are expecting the scheme to "excite" people and are set to reveal more details of the public consultation this month.

The plans from the Arc, a Government agency set up to revive areas of Sunderland hardest hit by job losses, are in direct competition with Tesco's scheme and include more than 1,000 apartments, 90,000 sq ft of caf , retail and leisure space and half a million square feet of office space.

The site will also have a 150-bed hotel to act as a "gateway" to the city, and will feature glazed walkways and public art.

Tesco owns the land and wants to build a 50million hypermarket on stilts as the centrepiece of its development.

Supermarket bosses have had their scheme rubbished by the former Vaux chairman, Sir Paul Nicholson, who called the Tesco plan "a terrible waste".

Coun Bob Symonds, leader of Sunderland City Council, and Arc bosses have urged Tesco to look at alternative sites for their development.

The two sets of plans are currently being examined by city planners - but a decision is upto nine months away.

The matter will eventually be decided by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, because both applications go against the council's local plan.