A driving instructor fears the disruption caused by a test centre closing down will put huge pressure on learner drivers and impact his business in the long run. 

The driving test centre in Warbreck Hill Road, Blackpool, will close down on March 30, and learner drivers are being redirected to a centre in Kirkham to complete their practical tests.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said the closure has been put in place after the agency was served a notice by the landlord but have reassured they are searching for a permanent site in Blackpool.

The closure comes less than a year after Blackpool's theory test centre shut down, meaning learners are forced to travel to Preston to take their theory test. 

Driving instructor Martin Crane, of Weelz Driving School Blackpool, said: “Some areas are amongst the most financially deprived areas in the country and costs have continually risen due to fuel prices etc.

“To tell any potential pupil from an area like that, that test day will cost a minimum of £150, and that they will need to get into Preston to sit a theory test, then find money for two hour lessons as part of their learning, is embarrassing for us, and prices them out of what is an essential life skill, effectively trapping them there.

“It is still very raw to us as instructors, and there is still hope that a solution will be found sooner rather than later, but at the moment, I am genuinely concerned about how my business can survive, and am actively considering my options moving forwards.”

The announcement caused controversy on social media with people stating that having to take your practical test in an unfamiliar setting is unfair as “nerves may get the better of them”.

One learner driver from Blackpool expressed her ‘anxiety’ over having to take a test at a different site.

Amber, who has asked for her surname not to be mentioned, said: “I’ve only just got my bearings and used to driving on the roads. It gives me anxiety thinking about having to do my practical somewhere completely different to what I know. It feels like I’m just at a disadvantage now.”

Martin added: "We have seen a huge increase over the past few years of people suffering from anxiety problems, and indeed I teach a number of pupils with learning difficulties.

"To put people like this under huge pressure, sit them next to an unfamiliar person, and drop them into an area they don't know is simply a recipe for disaster."

However not everyone was sympathetic to the disruption, with some social media users arguing that anyone who doesn’t feel safe driving on unfamiliar roads, “shouldn’t be allowed a licence in the first place.”

Peter Hearn, DVSA’s director of operations, said: “DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving. DVSA was served notice by the landlord, and as a result the driving test centre will close in March.

“Driving tests will temporarily move to Kirkham after March, but DVSA is committed to finding a new permanent site for a driving test centre in Blackpool."