Time to get on the road as King's Lynn Town Hall becomes driving theory test centre
It’s a wedding venue and the seat of West Norfolk’s democracy and now it could be the place that helps you get on the road.
A temporary centre for driving theory tests has been set up at Lynn’s town hall, amid fears that some learners faced round trips of up to 100 miles for an assessment.
Officials also say they are working on plans for a new, permanent centre in the town.
However, they have played down suggestions that could be open by the end of the year.
Concerns about the lack of capacity for tests in West Norfolk had been raised with the offices of both the borough’s MPs, Liz Truss and James Wild.
Yesterday, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the body responsible for test provision, said the town hall would be used as a temporary test centre until a new permanent site “is ready and open”.
Without the new provision at the town hall, the nearest available theory test centre to West Norfolk was at Hempton, near Fakenham.
After that, students are directed to facilities in three other neighbouring counties at locations including Bury St Edmunds, Boston, Peterborough and Cambridge – the latter of which is nearly 50 miles from Lynn.
An update from the agency to the MPs, which the Lynn News has seen, had suggested that a new permanent centre is set to open in the town by the end of this year.
It said: “There has been a lack of suitable properties entering the market, however we are now in the late stages of agreeing the lease on a property that meets our requirements regarding both accessibility and safety.
“We recognise the impact this will have on local candidates, so we are also progressing a temporary test centre within Kings Lynn. This will run at least until the permanent site in Kings Lynn is ready for delivery.
However, the DVSA spokesman wouldn’t be drawn yesterday on where or when a permanent facility might be ready, saying: “We will update local stakeholders when we have further details about the permanent site.”
The agency also stressed that the town’s practical test centre in Rollesby Road is operating normally.
Around 20 new theory test centres are expected to open across England, Scotland and Wales, following a recent change in the contractual arrangements for the delivery of the service.