Wiltshire Publications

Issue 504 – Capacity for driving tests in Westbury to increase

THE facility to take driving tests in Westbury has been well received by learner drivers in and around Westbury, with fully booked tests over the first weeks and plans to increase its capacity later this month.

A part-time trial facility was set up at Leighton Recreation Centre in December, offering tests over two days a week. The opening of the facility was celebrated by learner drivers and their instructors, who previously had to travel to Chippenham for both the tests and lessons to familiarise themselves with the route beforehand.
Driving tests are now run from Leighton Recreation Centre on Thursdays and Friday, with one examiner holding seven tests a day. From the middle of this month, a second examiner will be brought in, increasing the number of tests available.
The tests mean an increase in the number of vehicles using the narrow Wellhead Lane, which has caused concern among some residents. However, others have welcomed the facility as one that will support the future of Leighton Recreation Centre.
In 2008, Trowbridge’s Driving Test Centre was closed, forcing learner drivers in Westbury to travel to Chippenham. The new facility in Westbury is part of a trial which explores delivering tests from sites other than conventional driving test centres, with a similar scheme being run from the Longfield Community Centre in Trowbridge.
The ‘Campaign to Reopen Trowbridge Driving Test Centre’ group welcomed the news, saying that the new facilities are fantastic news for anyone wishing to learn to drive in Westbury, Trowbridge, Frome, Warminster, and surrounding areas, and estimating that they reduce the cost of learning to drive by £200-£400.
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) say that the move “is part of a national trial to provide a more local service for driving test candidates.” In addition to the trial in Wiltshire, DSA is running trials in six other areas across the country. All the trials will be carefully monitored to assess any impact on levels of customer service and the cost of delivery, as well as making sure the integrity of the test is maintained.
DSA will then decide whether the trials can be rolled out on a permanent basis and extended to other areas without a local test centre where there is a significant demand, as well as suitable test routes and venues.
• What do you think? Do you live in Wellhead Lane and are concerned by increased traffic? Do you welcome the new facility as a bonus for Westbury? Let us know what you think, email whitehorsenews@btconnect.com