Test centre to close

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THERE could be major implications for learner drivers from Forfar and the surrounding area with the news that the driving test centre in Forfar is to close.

The DSA (Driving Standards Agency) has announced both the Forfar and Arbroath test centres will close to make best use of new facilities in Dundee.

Angus MP Mike Weir has raised concerns about the proposals to close the centres, and has demanded more information from the Drivers Standards Agency both as to the rationale for their proposals and the “totally unacceptable” way they intend to impose the closures without consultation.

Closure of the two centres will leave Montrose as the only centre in Angus and, according to Mr Weir, that would mean that learners from Forfar and Arbroath would be expected to take their tests in Dundee.

He said that the proposals raised very real concerns.

He stated: “This appears to be yet another decision taken to centralise services without any consultation with the local communities affected.

“This is a totally unacceptable way for a government agency to act. Driving test centres are important for the local communities and they should be consulted before any decision is made.

“There are real concerns about the impact on driver instructors in Arbroath and Forfar but also on the costs that learner drivers would face to learn to drive in the area they would be taking their tests.

“The type of driving experienced in the towns of Angus is also very different from that of the city of Dundee, and learning in Dundee may well not prepare learner drivers for the reality of driving in more rural roads in Angus.”

Mr Weir has raised the matter directly with the Drivers Standards Agency but will also raise it with the UK Transport Minister who is ultimately responsible for the agency.

When asked to comment about the closures a DSA spokesperson said: “DSA relies for income on the fees we receive from our customers. We have a duty to spend that money responsibly while maintaining a good level of service.

“Arbroath and Forfar test centres are both outstations of Dundee test centre, which is being replaced with a new multi-purpose test centre (MPTC) in Dundee at the end of February.

“DSA is closing the outstations at Arbroath and Forfar to make the best use of the new facilities at Dundee.

“Arbroath is 19 miles from Dundee, and Forfar 15 miles. DSA’s stated travel distance criteria based on density of population for the area is 30 miles, so no consultation was necessary.”