DRIVING tests will continue to be available in Arbroath following an agreement to offer tests from a local supermarket.
The lease on the existing driving test centre in Arbroath expires this month and testing was originally expected to move to the test centre in Dundee.
However, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has reached an agreement to provide tests from the Asda supermarket in Arbroath, ensuring that candidates will continue to benefit from a convenient local service. A similar service will be offered in Forfar.
The agreement in Arbroath reflects a wider strategy to offer more local services for driving test candidates. In areas without a local test centre where there is sufficient demand for tests, DSA is looking at offering tests from alternative premises such as local authority buildings or retail outlets.
In January of last year, a move by the DSA to close the driving test centres in Arbroath and Forfar and move all the tests to Dundee evoked a furious reaction from local driving instructors.
They were so angry at what they saw as a high-handed move by a government department that they quickly initiated a campaign of protest, supported at that time by Mike Weir MP, Andrew Welsh MSP and local councillors.
Then, just a few weeks later, proposals by the government agency to carry out driving tests from supermarkets and libraries were welcomed by campaigners. The activists received assurances from the DSA that the town’s test centre would be safe from closure for at least another year.
Today (Friday), road safety minister Mike Penning said: “I am delighted that we can continue to provide a local service for driving test candidates in Angus. We have worked very closely with the MP for Angus, Mike Weir, and with the local community on this.
“I want us to be more flexible and innovative in delivering driving tests to make sure that we are offering people the best service possible wherever they live. Our aim is to offer a local service that is convenient for candidates as well as being cost effective.”
Testing will be conducted from the Asda supermarket in Arbroath from Monday, May 28. Testing will operate two to three days per week, in line with the current arrangements. All tests will continue to be conducted by DSA examiners.