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July 27, 2012 12:05 PM

Driving instructors and learner drivers in Trowbridge, Westbury, Frome and Warminster are delighted following the release of a statement by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), the Government agency responsible for driver testing, that testing is to become permanent at Longfield Community Centre in Trowbridge and Leighton Sports Centre in Westbury following a very successful 7 month trial period which started in December 2011.

Local driving instructors have campaigned for driver testing in Trowbridge since the DSA closed the town's test centre in 2008, which increased the cost of passing a driving test for residents in Trowbridge, Frome and Westbury by between £200-£400 as the result of learner drivers having to travel up to an hour each way to the nearest test centre in Chippenham.

Gary Fossey of Shamrock Driving School and Leader of the Campaign to Reopen Trowbridge DTC said today "I'm delighted that the DSA have acknowledged the success of the trials in Trowbridge and Westbury and that these venues have, as we envisaged, proved very popular with local learner drivers. Driving instructors have reported a noticeable increase in the number of people embarking on driving lessons with many pupils saying that they had put off learning to drive as the result of having to take their test in Chippenham. The announcement that these testing venues are now permanent is excellent news for current and future learner drivers in the Trowbridge, Westbury, Frome and Warminster areas and we hope their permanent status will ensure the requisite resources are invested by the DSA to ensure their continued success. With the continued assistance of Dr Andrew Murrison MP, we are currently seeking assurances from the Government Minister with responsibility for the DSA, Mike Penning, that the DSA will ensure waiting times at local test centres won't exceed the maximum reasonable length cited by the DSA of 9 weeks."

The Trowbridge and Westbury driver testing venues were part of initial trials in seven locations across Britain exploring a new approach to test delivery using shared venues to provide practical car tests in selected areas that did not have a local test centre but still had a significant demand for tests. The DSA is now rolling out this approach across Britain and in March this year they announced plans to extend the scheme to 21 more locations and this month announced it had selected Halfords plc as a preferred partner and is also exploring partnerships with the Fire and Rescue Service and several universities across Britain.