CONCERNS have been raised about the noise impact of expansion plans for a new business park that will soon be home to a major online retailer.

Darlington Borough Council's environmental health department have recommended applying a planning condition to the operating hours of equipment on the proposed forecourt at Symmetry Park, next to Lingfield Point in Darlington.

Work is nearing completion on the first part of the site, which is expected to be occupied by Amazon later this year, and outline planning permission has been submitted for the next phase, which could include restaurants, cafes, a pub, hotel, drive thru takeaways and a petrol station.

Although there are no particular noise sensitive properties nearby, the council's environmental health department have suggested limiting the opening hours of forecourt equipment, such as the jet wash, to between 8am and 10pm.

The department has also suggested, with reference to the proposed hotel, pub and drive thru restaurant, that no noise emitting fans, louvres, ducts or other external plant shall be installed until a scheme to reduce noise and vibration has been submitted and approved by Darlington Borough Council's planning department.

Earlier this year, Rontec, which operates more than 240 forecourts across England and Wales, submitted an objection letter in relation to the site's expansion, warning the inclusion of such facilities will draw people away from the town centre and from other sites across Darlington.

The firm confirmed it supports the expansion of the business park, but says the inclusion of such facilities are "unrelated" to the development.

But in response, Dominic Holding, senior planner at planning and development consultancy firm Lichfields, said there were no suitable alternative sites available, and the town centre serves a "different market " to that of the Amazon development.

Last month, Darlington MP Jenny Chapman and Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson sent a joint letter to Doug Gurr, head of Amazon UK, calling for the company's new Darlington site to deliver well-paid and secure jobs, as well as training opportunities and career prospects.

Their letter came on the back of an investigation by the GMB Union which claimed the online retailer was "one of the most dangerous places to work in Britain".

Amazon dispute the findings and say they offer industry-leading pay, benefits, and a safe workplace for their employees.

The firm is still expected to move in later this year, and a decision on the business park expansion is expected to be made in the coming weeks.