THE return of driving tests in Whitchurch has progressed after plans to hold them in the Civic Centre were granted permission by Shropshire Council.

The Driver Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA) applied to change the use of rooms one and two in the Civic Centre in High Street to accommodate a test centre which was granted earlier today (Tuesday, April 4).

Whitchurch has been without a driving test centre since the former facility in Dodington was closed down by the DVSA in 2022 citing that there were other centres nearby which could offer similar services.

This forced pupils into taking tests in other towns, such as Crewe - which is 14 miles away - and Wrexham.

Whitchurch Town Council quickly offered free use of the Civic Centre for driving tests after the previous site shut in April 2022 but it was only after months of campaigning that the DVSA eventually lodged planning permission in January.

Whitchurch Town Clerk Mike McDonald said: “We are delighted that permission has now been granted and hope the DVSA can now move swiftly for the benefit of all concerned, particularly the town’s young people.”

The news was also welcomed by North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan.

She has now written to DVSA Chief Executive Loveday Ryder urging her to quickly move forward with opening the centre.

She said: “I’m delighted that our campaign to get driving tests back to Whitchurch has taken another big step forward.

“This is very welcome news for the people of Whitchurch and is testament to the whole community working together to retain a vital service.

“The green light has been turned on, so now it’s down to the DVSA to get in gear and get the test centre open. I’ve already contacted the boss of the DVSA to make sure they are aware so there’s no excuse for any further delay.”


Some of those who voiced support for the new test centre were learner drivers.

Jessica Davies wrote on the planning portal: "I started driving lessons last year just before the test centre closed and I was devastated.

"Many of my peers in the local area also intent on learning in Whitchurch and doing their test there too.

"After a discussion with my driving instructor, themselves and other instructors were saddened by the news and lost clients due to having to travel out of the area to take their tests.

"Many petitions were signed by locals to keep it open and were upset to see it close.

"It would be a huge benefit for the individuals in Whitchurch and surrounding areas to have this centre reopened."

Meanwhile, a number of driving instructors were also in support of the new centre because it is more convenient for them and their pupils.

Jessica Rumney said: "I fully support this change.

"As a driving instructor based in Whitchurch this will help me and my students local to Whitchurch so much.

"As it stands both my students and I are having to spend a lot of time and money to learn other towns for tests which are minimum of 30 minutes away.

"I can't tell you how much easier this would make life for both me, current and future learners.

"This is an essential change which has been needed since the last test centre's closure in March 2022."

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