The campaign to retain driving tests in Clacton has been won following a seven year battle.
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has announced that it will continue to provide practical car tests in the town. It expects to carry on operating from the current test centre premises in Carnarvon Road for the time being.
Nationally, as well as using conventional driving test centres, DSA is looking at whether tests could also be delivered from other venues that provide the right level of service for candidates.
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said: “I am delighted to confirm that we will continue to provide driving tests in Clacton. Our aim is to offer a local service that is convenient for candidates as well as being cost effective.
“We are looking at how we can be more flexible and innovative in our approach to test delivery, and this could involve using other premises to deliver driving tests, such as local authority buildings or hotels.”
Clacton MP Douglas Carswell said it is great news for the town.
"It is vital that we safeguard driving tests in Clacton. A whole industry has grown up around it, and jobs depend on it,” he said.
“I listened to local concerns. I took action and, working with TDC, secured a guarantee that there will continue to be driving tests locally and that there will be no gap in provision.”
Julie Hartigan and Peter Everitt, speaking on behalf of the Clacton and District Driving Instructors (CADDI) , thanked Mr Carswell and the Regeneration Team at TDC for their fantastic support.
“We have all fought hard to make sure this issue hasn’t been swept under the carpet,” they said.
“It is a huge relief to everyone, especially all those wanting to take tests in their own area, that the Minister has given his personal assurance that Clacton tests are secure. It has been a long but successful battle.”
DSA has already announced trials to deliver tests more locally in seven sites across the country. These will be monitored to assess any impact on levels of customer service and the cost of delivery, as well as making sure the integrity of the test is maintained.
Victory for Clacton – CADDI spokesman Peter Everitt (centre and pink tie) with Clacton MP Douglas Carswell (immediately right of PE in photo) and TDC Deputy Leader Peter Halliday (immediately left of PE) celebrate with other driving instructors.