17th May 2022
Progress is being made towards returning a driving test centre to Whitchurch after MP Helen Morgan wrote to the boss of the DVSA to push for movement on the issue.
The DVSA is now organising a detailed assessment of Whitchurch Civic Centre, which the town council has offered to use as a base for a test centre following the closure of the existing site last month.
It comes after Helen Morgan, the MP for North Shropshire, wrote to DVSA Chief Executive Loveday Ryday and Roads Minister Baroness Vere last week calling for progress to be made.
Reacting to news of the assessment, Helen said: “It is good to see signs of progress finally being made and hopefully this will lead to a test centre reopening as soon as possible.
“I will continue to liaise closely with the DVSA and the Department for Transport to press for a solution. It is crucial that one is found quickly as the lack of public transport options in the area means constituents in North Shropshire are forced to rely on cars.
“The Government has shown no signs of levelling up bus and train transport in rural communities and restricting access to driving test centres only makes the situation worse for people who need to travel to access jobs.”
In her letter to the DVSA and Department for Transport, Helen pointed out that at the time of checking there were only five tests available in the surrounding areas for the rest of 2022, with none of these available to book in Oswestry, Shrewsbury or Telford.
Helen wrote: “Reopening the Whitchurch site, at no cost to the DVSA, would help to alleviate this severe shortage in our car-dependent constituency and surely represent good value for the DVSA.”
Helen campaigned to keep the test site open alongside the community action group after the decision was announced in January to the anger of local residents. The closure was announced without
consultation and means that learner drivers have to travel at least 14 miles to access a driving test - and that is only if they are able to book one due to the long delays for available appointments.