Debenhams has signed up to anchor Discovery Properties’ The Oval shopping scheme in Darlington, County Durham.

Debenhams is to open a 93,000 sq ft department store at the 394,000 sq ft retail and leisure scheme.

It has taken a 25-year lease and will open in autumn 2010.

The £100m development got the go ahead from Darlington Borough Council in February and the three-level scheme will include 34 shop, 5 restaurants and a multiplex cinema.

Phil Monaghan, property director of Debenhams, said: ‘Darlington is one of the largest towns in the UK without a Debenhams department store and has been a priority requirement of ours for several years.’

The Oval will be built on the site of car parks in Commercial Street and Kendrew Street. It will be linked to Northgate through the existing Queen Street shopping centre.

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