UPDATE: 'Constructive announcement' on High Wycombe driving test centre closure expected soon as MP Steve Baker gets involved

More than 3,800 people have signed a petition launched by a driving instructor to save High Wycombe's practical test centre.

The Bucks Free Press revealed last week that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is planning to shut the Wellington Road centre in March next year because there has been a "low demand" for tests there and that it was no longer a "good" use of public money to keep it open.

The news prompted outrage and a petition was set up by driving instructor Hazzy Raja, of High Wycombe-based Hazzy's Driving School.

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Hazzy said lesson prices for learners could increase as a result of the test centre closure because of extra travelling time and fuel to get to and from any of the surrounding centres like Aylesbury, Uxbridge or Slough.

He added that learners will have to do longer two or three hour sessions and the further distance to the test centre, adding that there will be an "overall inconvenience of travelling to an unknown town for lessons and tests".

So far, more than 3,850 people have signed the petition to save the High Wycombe centre.

Signing the petition, Lynne McGuckin said the town is being "robbed" of its facilities. Urging the DVSA to "think again", she wrote: "We are a large town of over 133k residents and growing.

"It’s ludicrous to claim there is no demand for a test centre for our learners! Our learners want to familiarise themselves with local test routes and this will be prohibitive for those in low incomes to have to travel 30 mins each way to even access the relevant roads."

Sharon Keens wrote: "There's a serious backlog. Also businesses will have to put their prices up due to the move to Slough. This will obviously put prices up for our the new learner drivers in the area."

Deborah Horridge added: "I simply do not believe the reasons given for its closure. I have three children who would use the centre and using another centre would mean hugely increased costs for longer lessons and a increase in their carbon footprint.

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"Even before the pandemic, waiting times for tests were several weeks long. How does this equate to it being underused and a waste of tax-payers’ money? Also, it costs a lot of money to take a test. Where does this money go, if not to cover costs?"

Last week, a DVSA spokesman told the Free Press: "DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving.

“Given the low demand for driving tests and that the cost of the driving test centre lease is not a good use of public money we have taken the difficult decision to close High Wycombe driving test centre.

“We have tried to find a better value driving test centre but have been unable to find an alternative location in the town. If an alternative site become available we will look at its suitability.”

You can sign the petition at www.change.org/p/dvsa-save-high-wycombe-driving-test-centre