LEARNER drivers may not be forced to travel more than 15 miles to take their tests after government bosses found a potential new home for an under threat test centre.

The future of Nelson Driving Test Centre was left hanging in the balance in August 2016 after the Driving Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA)said it's home in Cobden Street was branded 'no longer suitable'.

Community leaders and driving instructors said the potential closure of the site would have been 'awkward' and 'difficult' as learner driver would be forced to travel to the next nearest centre in Commercial Road, Darwen.

But bosses at the DVSA submitted plans to convert offices 103,104 and 105 at Pendle Business Centre in Commercial Road, Nelson into a new testing centre.



If given the go-ahead, the centre would be just two streets away from its current site.

Andrew Stephenson, Pendle's MP, said he met with the DVSA to find a suitable spot in the borough in an attempt to keep the test centre close by.

He said: "I am delighted it is looking like Pendle will keep hold of the test centre.

"We will hopefully be keeping it in Nelson and it will be moved to a modern and a much better building, in fact it will only be two streets away.

"I think this is huge news for driving instructors and learner drivers and they will be happy with it because they will be able to take their test in Pendle and not have to travel to Darwen.

"Its a huge relief for instructors."

Claire Wright, who has ran Claire's School of Motoring for 11 years in Burnley, said there could have been repercussions if learners had to go to Darwen to their their test.

She said: "Instructors would have to learn new routes in Blackburn with Darwen.

"It would be also very difficult to get someone to Blackburn to have a full lesson in one hour.

"People would have to pay for two hour sessions and that is simply too much for a lot of people.

"We, as instructors, were hoping the test centre did not go.

"People might have been put off having lessons because of the cost."

Within the planning document, the DVSA said car licensing testing would take place between 8am and 4pm Monday to Saturday.

There would be seven examiners based at the site providing roughly 8,400 tests per year.

In a letter written to Mr Stephenson last year, the DVSA said the current office was starting to deteriorate and the internal walls were cracking, the female toilets were often out of order and there were only three parking pays for candidates, when six was required.

Raja Minhas, who has ran Drivewise School of Motoring in Nelson since 2006, said: "It will be much better keeping the test centre in Nelson.

"It is going to be better for the community and much better for instructors.

"Nelson's town centre has little going for it and if they had taken the test centre away it would have an affect on a lot of people.

"Nelson has lots of places for technical driving so it is a good thing it is staying put."

Two of offices at Pendle Business Centre have been vacant since 2011 and one since 2012.

In the planning document, a spokesman on behalf of the DVSA, said: "The proposed development will allow the provision of car licence testing from Pendle Business Centre.

"The use will not affect the operation of the remaining office building or car parking area.

"The provision of testing at this site will meet the objectives of both national and local planning policy to make most efficient use of land, maximize the use of developed sites and support employment development in the local area."