Driving test proposals given “cautious welcome”

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PROPOSALS by the Driving Standards Agency to carry out driving tests from supermarkets and libraries have been welcomed by those involved with a campaign to keep Arbroath’s test centre open.

The activists received assurances from the DSA that the town’s test centre would be safe from closure for at least another year.

If the test had centre had been shut it would have meant people being forced to take their tests in Dundee.

Driving instructor Lez Wells, who led the fight against the closure, said: “We had some feedback on this way back when we started our campaign.

“Our feeling is that if the test centre was to close then having a virtual test centre at a library or supermarket might be an option.”

Angus MP Mike Weir, who played a key role in the fight against closure, said he couldn’t see how money would be saved by such an idea considering the low running costs for the current test centre.

He said: “I am not opposed to the idea to look for alternatives but we have to maintain services locally.

“We want to make sure that the people of Arbroath have the opportunity to do their driving tests in the town and don’t have to travel to Dundee.”

Councillor David Fairweather, who also played his part in the campaign, said: “It is a very interesting option.

“But our test centre in Arbroath must remain open.”

Councillor Donald Morrison gave the Driving Standards Agency’s plans a cautious welcome and also called for the DSA to keep local driving instructors fully informed on the proposals.

He said: “With ever increasing fuel prices it would be now more ludicrous for the DSA to even contemplate centralising driving to Dundee.

“Learning to drive is about firstly gaining the confidence to drive around your local surroundings, so it is important that tests are maintained locally.”

A spokesman for the DSA said: “We will continue to use the existing test centre for at least the next 12 months, but in the longer term we are looking at whether we can be more flexible and innovative in our approach to test delivery.

“This could involve using other premises to deliver driving tests, such as supermarkets or local authority buildings.

“However, any new arrangements will have to provide the right level of service for our candidates.”