Fresh calls for the return of a driving test centre in Spalding

Driving instructors Patti White, Simon Halgarth, Norman Parish and Tim White were among those launching a petition in February for the return of a test centre in Spalding. SG170214-113NG
Driving instructors Patti White, Simon Halgarth, Norman Parish and Tim White were among those launching a petition in February for the return of a test centre in Spalding. SG170214-113NG
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Calls for Spalding to have its own driving test centre were renewed this week after a learner got to Boston to find her test cancelled due to roadworks.

Estelle Martin (18) had taken a day off work in the second week of a new job and had paid three months in advance for her test.

Her annoyed dad Gary said: “It’s just a joke. They are taking young people’s money and they should have rung to say ‘there’s a major problem, we are going to have to cancel’.

“Highways should be telling them when there are roadworks so they don’t have driving tests then.

“Young people should not have to through that. I think it’s happened to one girl three times.”

Estelle’s was one of three driving tests cancelled that day because major road works to install a new town centre cycle path had gridlocked the town.

A spokesman for the DVSA (Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency) said: “DVSA does everything it can to make sure that all tests can go ahead as planned whenever possible.

“On the rare occasions where we have to cancel tests, we will always try to inform candidates as soon as we can and we will re-book their tests for the earliest possible date at no extra charge.

Spalding had a driving test centre until 2008 when it closed and learners were left with a choice of Boston or Peterborough to take their tests.

Gary said: “I have lived in Spalding for 20-odd years and the only reason they shut it was to save costs. They have got to get it back. The town’s grown, they are building another 5,000 houses, everybody’s driving, they have got to get it back.”

South Holland driving instructors launched a public e-petition in February this year to try to have a driving test centre re-opened in Spalding, but the petition closed in August with only 239 signatures.

Norman Parish, of Spalding School of Motoring, said this week: “To be honest, I very much doubt if we will get it back because it’s all about cost.”

But, while the authorities save cash, driving schools and their pupils are shelling out more money.

Instructors are clocking up an extra 10,000 to 15,000 miles wear and tear on their cars each year – and pupils approaching their tests are paying out an average of £50 for double lessons because they need to practice on the roads in either Boston or Peterborough.

What YOU said on Facebook:

Stacey Courts: I was only saying this to my husband the other day.. I wish spalding would reopen their test centre. I know spalding like the bk of my hand and would pass 1st time .. Boston is a nightmare!!

Daniel Manton: I think they should pay for the day off work and the travel cost for being unprofessional.

Kimberley Jade : Definitely needs to be reopened. How are kids from Spalding supposed to get enough practice to pass in Boston? Driving lessons are expensive enough without factoring in the drive to and from Boston and having to have lessons at least two hours long to make it worthwhile.

Tracey Steele Kinder: Yep, I agree . Bring back the Spalding test centre.

Claire Louise Harwood: Re-open it! I gave up driving after it shut.No way would I drive to Boston.Hate the place!