LEARNER drivers will soon be able to take their test in Harborough after the Government confirmed its plans to set up test centres at branches of Halfords.
Halfords’ superstore in Wellingborough will be the first to take part in the new Driving Standards Agency (DSA) scheme from February, but other stores including Harborough’s in Rockingham Road are set to follow in the coming months.
At the moment most learner drivers from Harborough take their test in Kettering.
Under the new scheme driving tests will still be carried out by DSA examiners, who will have a special area set aside in store to meet with candidates and conduct the tests.
The project first emerged in July last year and was confirmed by road safety minister Stephen Hammond last week.
He said: “We are very pleased to be working with Halfords to provide a more local service for driving test candidates.
“This is a great example of working with private sector partners to provide an important local service.”
Harborough-based driving instructor Steve Parks said: “It’s good because you’ve got a local centre but if you’re not careful people will learn in Market Harborough, take their test in Market Harborough and won’t be prepared for driving anywhere else.
“I usually start my pupils in Harborough then take them to places like Kettering or South Wigston where there are busier, trickier roads.
“I’m not totally against the idea but there are drawbacks.”
Ray Cunningham, of Ray’s Driving School, said: “It’s an opportunity for local people to take their test nearer to home so I think it’s a good thing.
“It should also bring down waiting lists. There is a wait of about six weeks at the moment but it has been much longer in the past.”
This story was amended on January 21. The original article accidentally misquoted Ray Cunningham as saying there is a waiting list of six months for a driving test. The waiting list for a driving test at the moment is about six weeks.