MP Steve Baker has promised to “get to the bottom” of some confusion over the future of High Wycombe’s driving test centre - which faces closure in nine weeks.

It was revealed in the Bucks Free Press in October that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is planning to shut the Wellington Road centre in March 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 from thousands of residents who have signed a petition to save it.

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The DVSA requested from local driving instructors who formed the Save Wycombe Driving Test Centre (SWDTC) campaign group some alternative cheaper sites in the area.

Since then, they have suggested more than 20 cheaper premises but are worried that time is running very short to find an alternative site, combined with news of a national move towards remote driver testing.

In November the DVSA’s outgoing chief executive Gareth Llewellyn told the transport select committee that the DVSA was considering a move towards ‘meet and greet’ driving tests, where candidates would meet their examiner in a public place such as a supermarket car park. This would save money as there would be no need to lease test centre buildings.

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In December the Department for Transport confirmed that the examiners at Wycombe would be transferred to neighbouring test centres, such as Aylesbury or Slough, in March – in response to a written question by Mr Baker.

However, on January 7, the DVSA told local instructors that they are currently going through the process of evaluating a “couple” of possible sites in terms of issues like planning permission barriers and health and safety.

SWDTC campaign chairperson Terry McKean said: “There seem to be three possible scenarios at the moment – ideally a new test centre will open at different premises in Wycombe, alternatively some kind of remote testing system will be set up, or the worst-case scenario is that learners will just have to go elsewhere for tests in future.”

ALSO READ: High Wycombe driving test centre to be shut down because it's not a 'good use of public money'

He added: “A town our size deserves its own test centre. We have always had a huge demand for driving tests and that is greater than ever now, due to the backlog caused by the Covid lockdowns.

“With only two months to go, we just want some reassurance that when the booking system reopens, testing will continue in High Wycombe.”

Mr Baker told the Bucks Free Press: “I am very glad to have had a constructive conversation with local driving instructors and I am on their side. I have told Ministers I want local people to be able to take driving tests in our town. I have further meetings scheduled with Ministers to discuss this, and have also applied for an Adjournment Debate in Parliament to hold the Department for Transport to account.”

Sign the petition to save the centre at