NORTH Shropshire MP slams DVSA decision to not replace the driving centre in Whitchurch, while town officials and instructors were left "devastated".

The driving agency had been expected to make a new home in the centre after it announced it was closing its site in the town.

But it has now confirmed it will not be looking for a new home in the town, and said this was only in part because of the discovery of RAAC and asbestos which has seemingly doomed the vital civic building.

Helen Morgan, MP for North Shropshire, said: “It is a disgrace that the DVSA has exploited the Civic situation as an excuse to abandon Whitchurch – and has done so without telling anybody.


“Just a few months ago it was building on the hard work of the town council and campaigners and applying for planning permission to move back into the town.

“The only thing that has changed is the closure of the Civic. Whitchurch still needs a driving test centre.

"Learners are still being forced to wait months and then travel long distances for tests."

She added: “The DVSA need to honour their commitment to operating tests in the town and should be clear about their intentions - anything short of clear communication is plainly dishonest behaviour.

“I have written to the Chief Executive of the DVSA calling for a meeting and I have made it clear that any move to keep the test centre shut is entirely wrong."

Ron Ingall, a senior driving instructor in the town, said he was left angry by the decision. 

He says that routes had been planned and assurances were given by the DVSA that a centre would be found. 

He said: “It’s the double standards of the DVSA to promised us that we would be in receipt of a new centre in the town. 

“But then the concrete came along and say they no longer want to. 

“They don’t care about the people of Whitchurch and surrounding areas – Market Drayton, Wem, Malpas.

“It costs a lot of money to take a test in Shrewsbury."

He explained that there is not a lot of demand because people have been “forced to go miles away for the tests”.

Mr Ingall added: “They have to go 30 miles for the test and it’s £90 for Shrewsbury – if they took it here it would be £60. 

“I’m very angry about this – it’s typical of the DVSA – what do they know about teaching people to drive?

“We’ve offered them places and they turned us down flat.” 

Whitchurch Mayor, Andy Hall called it “absolutely devastating news”.

He said: “I am shocked and appalled that DVSA were not in touch with to give us the news directly.

“We have been in touch with them constantly since the centre was closed in town – and they have given us no indication that they won’t continue with the test centre in Whitchurch.

“We are going to pursue this and won’t take this lying down."

Council proper officer Mike McDonald has also tried to contact the agency, with no response

Mr McDonald continued: “We still await their response, and the offer remains open.

"Clearly it is their decision, but it is very disappointing one both for our town and our young people – especially as our offer would not involve any additional cost for DVSA, which was also the case with the previous offer of office space within the Civic Centre."