Wiltshire Publications

End of the road for Westbury driving test centre

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WESTBURY’S driving test centre, which operates two days a week from Leighton Sports Centre, is to close on Friday 28th February. 

Local driving instructors have warned that learner drivers, who will have to travel to Trowbridge or Chippenham to take their test, will face a longer waiting list. There is already a seven-week wait for tests at Trowbridge and there are fears this will grow.

And the instructors say that, with Trowbridge unlikely to be able to cope with the extra demand, the cost of learning to drive in Westbury will go up by £200-£400 if learner drivers have to travel to Chippenham for their tests.

In announcing the changes, the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) said that services will be increased at the Trowbridge centre from two days a week to four days, with flexibility to extend to five days if demand allows, saying this will provide a more ‘consistent service’. 

However,  the owner of Able Driver Training in Westbury, Mark Able, says the waiting list will still not come down. He explained, “The two day a week centre in Westbury has never really catered for the demand. 

“The DVSA made a huge mistake when they closed the original Trowbridge Test Centre, and so couldn’t possibly cope with demand by putting two examiners on for two days a week in Westbury, and two days in Trowbridge. There needs to be a full time test centre locally, otherwise the waiting list will never come down.

“When my pupils want a test quickly, we have no choice but to go to Chippenham. This incurs increased costs, as we have to allow a lot more lesson time to get there and back. I don’t think putting on extra days in Trowbridge will be enough.”

The former full-time Trowbridge test centre was closed in August 2008, forcing learner drivers to take their tests at Chippenham. 

In 2011, trial centres were set up in Westbury and at a new site in Trowbridge exploring delivering tests from sites other than conventional driving test centres. This saw an increase of people from Westbury and surrounding areas taking their tests. 

However as full-time testing centres were still not available, local driving instructors expressed their frustration at the length of time their students have to wait to take their driving test, with wait times averaging at 15 weeks.

In response to the planned closure of Westbury’s test centre, Mayor of Westbury cllr Mike Sutton said, “It is disappointing to hear that Westbury driving test centre is closing and that Westbury residents will have to travel to either Trowbridge or Chippenham.  The concentration of tests in a few centres is yesterday’s thinking and does not address any of today’s problems.

“There is a seven-week wait for tests at Trowbridge and the suggestion that one could travel to Chippenham does a lot for global warming, particularly when Wiltshire has declared a climate change emergency! Another example of yesterday’s solutions to today’s problems.”

DVSA director of operations south, Richard Hennessy said, “DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving.

“The driving test centre at Westbury only opens for two days a week. Using the nearby test centres at Trowbridge and Chippenham will provide all candidates with a more consistent service, up to five days a week.

“Test routes at Trowbridge and Chippenham driving test centres mean candidates can be better tested on a wider variety of roads and driving conditions, helping improve driving skills and making Britain’s roads even safer.”

One Response to End of the road for Westbury driving test centre

  1. Wholesale Women's Clothing

    February 18, 2020 at 3:37 am

    The decision of DVSA was not cool for stopping the driving school Trowbridge Test Centre. I think, a good driving school should be established in Westbury.