Wales

Lampeter Driving Test Centre closure 'will disadvantage' learners

Lampeter test centre
Image caption The DVSA has been handed notice to vacate Canolfan Dulais

The closure of a rural driving test centre will disadvantage learner drivers, a town's mayor has said.

Lampeter Driving Test Centre in Ceredigion will shut on 22 August because it is based in Canolfan Dulais hub, which is being redeveloped.

Town mayor Rob Phillips said he was disappointed by the closure and there had been "very little consultation".

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said candidates would be "better prepared" by routes 20 miles away.

The centre only opened two days a week and a "more consistent" service could be provided in Aberystwyth, which is 25 miles away, or Carmarthen, 23 miles away, a DVSA spokesman said.

Image caption Lampeter mayor Rob Phillips says young people will have to pay for longer lessons

Mr Phillips said: "It seems to me that they are taking advantage of the fact that the building is being redeveloped to announce the closure.

"It does seem like a decision taken by somebody, perhaps who doesn't really appreciate the nature of the area, the distances involved and the fact that learning to drive in Aberystwyth or Carmarthen is not the same as driving in a rural area."

He told BBC Radio Cymru's Post Cyntaf programme young people would have to pay for longer lessons and would spend their time driving to Aberystwyth or Carmarthen rather than practising manoeuvres.

"Certainly, people will be disadvantaged by it," he said.

Image caption Elan Jones fears she will have to travel further to learn to drive

Elan Jones, who is turning 17 soon, said the decision was a blow.

"It's definitely a shame," she said.

"It's going to be a lot more expensive for us and it'll take a lot more of our free time."

The DVSA said its priority was "to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving".

It added: "Routes at nearby Carmarthen and Aberystwyth test candidates on all parts of the new driving test, meaning candidates are better prepared for a lifetime of safe driving, making Welsh roads even safer."

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