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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Plans submitted for 100m Darlington shopping centre

Discovery Properties has submitted a full planning application to Darlington Borough Council for the development of a new 100m shopping and leisure centre in Darlington town centre.

The three-level scheme, to be known as 'The Oval' after its iconic oval-shaped roof feature, will comprise 380,569 sq ft of new retail and leisure space. 30 new shops are proposed plus a major 92,250 sq ft department store, a multiplex cinema and a new 850-space multi storey car park that will be connected to the scheme by a new footbridge across St Augustines Way. 'The Oval' will also provide the 'Winter Gardens', a new public exhibition space for the town.

The scheme will be built on the site of the Commercial Street and Kendrew Street car parks together with some adjoining land. It will be linked to Northgate through the existing Queen Street Shopping Centre, which will be upgraded as part of the process.

Discovery Properties, the London based retail and leisure specialist was selected by Darlington Borough Council as its chosen developer in May 2005 and this application is the fruition of an extensive amount of preparation work.

Hugo Hawkings, Chief Executive of Discovery Properties says: "We think this scheme will be a huge success and are delighted to be submitting this application. We believe these plans represent a tremendous opportunity for the town.

"Our development will provide a dramatic improvement to the existing town centre, supplying attractive modern retail and leisure space and giving the opportunity for major occupiers who could not previously be accommodated to look again at Darlington.

"Our plans, alongside the significant investment in public realm improvements being made by the Council, will be a huge boost to for the whole of Darlington, attracting more people to shop in the town centre and hopefully acting as a catalyst for further investment."

The planning application follows a full public consultation exercise carried out in the summer which received a strong positive response. Following comments received from the public and local stakeholders a number of alterations have been made, most notably the height of the multi storey car park has been significantly reduced and the residential flats facing North Lodge Park have been redesigned to ensure this element of the scheme reflects its location adjacent to the conservation area.

Subject to receiving approval for these proposals, Discovery Properties hopes to commence construction in 2008 with opening due in 2010.

Colliers CRE advised Darlington Borough Council whilst Discovery Properties has been advised by Sanderson Weatherall. The scheme has been designed by the architectural practice of Lyons Sleeman & Hoare.

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