Outlet could be new test centre

Driving instructor Patrick Caulwell from Gidlow School of Motoring
Driving instructor Patrick Caulwell from Gidlow School of Motoring
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LEARNER drivers in Wigan could soon be able to take their practical test in Wigan once again.

Since 2009 anybody living in Wigan has had to travel to the test centre in Atherton to take their test, but now Government plans could soon see them being able to take their tests in the centre of Wigan at the fire station or Halfords.

Transport minister Mike Penning told MPs the aim was to provide a “more local service for candidates”.

Tests will continue to be carried out by Driving Standards Agency examiners and the deals are not exclusive.

Mr Penning said in a written parliamentary statement there had been “real progress” with Halfords and Mantra.

He said: “Subject to working agreements being finalised and suitable premises with driving test routes being identified, driving tests should be delivered from premises of these organisations in the near future.”

“Local agreements with the Fire and Rescue Service, particularly in areas not otherwise covered, are also being explored and there have also been discussions with several universities.”

These arrangements will apply for practical driving tests, not other types of test or the theory test.

Pat Caulwell of Gidlow School of Motoring has welcomed the move.

He said: “In 33 years of being an instructor in Wigan this is the first positive move that has been taken.

“Since they closed the test centre in Wigan and made Wiganers take their tests in Atherton it has been to the disadvantage of those learning to drive in Wigan.

“The centre and examiners in Atherton are fine, but it means that learners have to spend more getting there and on lessons ahead of tests as they are unfamiliar with the roads around Atherton.

“This means they have to pay for extra lessons to factor this in and allow time to get there.

“It would be great if people can taken their tests here in Wigan again.”