Shropshire Star

Talks demanded over closure of Whitchurch driving test centre

A councillor is planning to lobby the DVSA over its decision to close the Whitchurch test centre.

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Learner drivers have raised concerns over the decision

Councillor Ian Nellins, Market Drayton town councillor and cabinet member on Shropshire Council, has asked the county council to help fight against the decision by the DVSA.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency said it is closing the centre at Lodge Paul Moss in Whitchurch because there are “other nearby centres where the same services can be relocated.”

But Councillor Nellins said this is a great concern for people of Market Drayton, as they already had to travel to Whitchurch for their tests, and now will be pushed out to Crewe or even Stoke.

He said the decision had put "tremendous stress" on young people and the service was badly needed in north Shropshire.

"It provides such an important service to north Shropshire," he said.

"Market Drayton people already have to travel to Whitchurch for the service.

"We are concerned that first of all there will be a backlog and people who learned to drive around their local area are now being pushed further away.

"It is putting tremendous stress on our young people hoping to learn to drive and pass their tests. It's a service we badly need in north Shropshire.

"During the lockdown there were no tests taking place, so surely there is a backlog of people."

Councillor Nellins said many Market Drayton residents were upset about the decision, as they are constantly having to travel to access services.

"People of Market Drayton are always having to travel elsewhere and it's difficult," he said.

"At least Whitchurch is relatively local, but people will now have to travel to Crewe or even Stoke to do their test, which means learning a whole new area. I've got a lot of residents upset about this.

"My son is 19 and he, like many people his age, has been learning to drive around Market Drayton and Whitchurch so he can take his test there. I know there are others like him, I am acutely aware of his situation, and many others too.

"I have approached the council to lobby the DVSA and we want to know their reasons for closing and why have they not consulted on the decision. And do they realise the pressure they are putting on young people now."

A spokesperson for the Nottingham-based DVSA confirmed that the Whitchurch site is closing after Sunday, April 10.

“We have made the decision to close the Whitchurch driving test centre, as there are other nearby centres where the same services can be relocated,” said the spokesperson.

“We understand this change may cause an inconvenience for some, but we have worked hard to ensure that there is no change in the number of tests provided to local candidates, and no tests were lost as a result of the closure.”

The next test centre closest to Whitchurch is at Crewe, 14 miles away. This centre provides the same type of tests as the centre that is closing.

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