Councillors unite to call for test centre rethink

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A CALL has been made for the Chief Executive of Angus Council to raise the issue of the closure of the driving test centres in Forfar and Arbroath with the UK Transport Minister, Mike Penning MP.

At a full meeting of Angus Council last Thursday, Angus SNP Councillor Donald Morrison supported a Council motion, which gained full cross party support, calling for the Driving Standards Agency to rethink their decision to close the two test centres Councillor Morrison also suggested the Chief Executive of Angus Council raise the issue with the UK Transport Minister.

Mr Morrison, an Arbroath Councillor said: “The huge campaign led by local driving instructors shows the depth of anger throughout the county to the ludicrous proposals by the DSA to close centres in Arbroath and Forfar without any consultation.

“On the back of supporting the petition, I was delighted to support the motion because I believe forcing pupils from Angus onto the unfamiliar routes in Dundee will damage learner confidence and unfairly increase costs for both instructors and pupils.

“Some say learner drivers should be competent to drive in any area, but in order to gain confidence learners in Angus should be familiar with the roads they are more likely to use ie rural and urban roads throughout Angus.

“A lack of confidence is as dangerous as a lack of competence.

“And there is a lack of confidence in the handling of this by the DSA.

“Local instructors will need to give pupils lessons in Dundee before tests to familiarise them with the area, test routes, etc especially as a section of the new test requires pupils to take the examiner on a route of their own choosing.

“However, without any local knowledge of Dundee this will discriminate pupils from Angus and could damage their confidence.

“It is claimed the remaining centre in Montrose, open only a couple of days a week, could be used to meet any surge in demand and the DSA ironically may look at enhancing the facilities there.

“There is no doubt there will be demand in Montrose, especially from pupils around Arbroath, but it begs the question why the close centres in Arbroath and Forfar anyway?

“Without any concrete commitments, however, the service must be maintained throughout Angus.

“Transport Minister, Mike Penning MP, has confirmed to Angus MP, Mike Weir, consideration is being given to a system whereby the examiner comes to the pupil or area instead.

“While it maintains service in Angus, the centres must remain open until any such amicable system or alternative is brought in.

“With such a tight timescale remaining and the UK Prime Minister giving a clear commitment that the DSA is looking at alternatives to continue provision of the service in Angus, the UK Government should suspend closures until such time as local instructors and communities have been consulted.

“I was delighted to have supported the motion as Angus Council are fully behind the local instructors’ campaign.”