WORKERS travelling to a new business park that will soon be occupied by Amazon will be encouraged to travel by moped to help reduce the number of cars on surrounding roads, new documents show.

Concerns have already been raised that the infrastructure surrounding Symmetry Park, next to Lingfield Point in Darlington, will not cope with the number of vehicles entering and leaving the site.

The Northern Echo:

A travel plan outlining sustainable transport options, which must be approved by Darlington Borough Council before Amazon can occupy the site, has highlighted car sharing schemes, public transport discounts and improving cycling routes as a way of addressing the problem.

But now the council and developers have advised workers who may have difficulty travelling to the site to take advantage of a Wheels to Work scheme, in the form of moped loans.

The loan will be available for a "low weekly price" and also covers insurance, road tax, breakdown cover, servicing and protective clothing.

The Northern Echo:

Tees Valley Combined Authority have secured about £150,000 worth of funding from the Department for Transport's Access Fund, which, through the work of the Redcar and Cleveland Voluntary Development Agency, will fund 50 scooters and 27 electric bikes that Amazon workers could take advantage of.

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, who previously said workers from nearby businesses in the town have approached her about concerns over the increased traffic, said the idea will "raise eyebrows".

But Darlington Borough Council leader Heather Scott said Ms Chapman's attitude to the scheme was "very negative".

She added: "Durham County Council have run a very successful scheme. It is a scheme that helps people find work and get to work who have difficultly with transport – it is a way of helping people to get a job. She should be encouraging the scheme."

Ms Chapman said: “This will raise eyebrows among tax payers. What will the total cost be? We know that compared to most businesses, Amazon pays a fraction of the tax that most UK companies hand to the Government. What will Amazon pay towards this scheme as a proportion of its cost? How much will individuals in the scheme be expected to pay?

"It's also really important that there is fairness for the other companies, large and small, that operate in and around Darlington. Will they be able to take advantage of this programme? And can it be extended to public servants like teachers, health workers and the blue light services?"

A Darlington Borough Council spokesman said: “Darlington has a great track record for encouraging sustainable transport – in the form of cycle lanes, car sharing schemes and other projects.

“In terms of the Symmetry Park development, we will work with the occupier, during the recruitment phase and beyond, on the implementation of their travel plan.”