Banbury Driving Test Centre due to close in 2018 and tests to move to Oxford unless new premises are found

L plate ENGEMN00120110523121149
L plate ENGEMN00120110523121149

Learner drivers in Banbury taking their test may have to travel to Oxford or Warwick from 2018 if new premises are not found for the town’s testing centre.

The Banbury Driving Test Centre, on Broughton Road will have to close in March 2018 after the site’s landlord opted not to renew its lease with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

DVSA head of operations, Phil Lloyd, said: “DVSA is committed to providing a driving test service in Banbury.

“The lease on the current driving test centre ends in March 2018 and the landlord has informally told DVSA they are not looking to renew it.

“In the meantime, we continue to look for a new permanent site in the Banbury.

“DVSA will contact candidates and driving instructors in these areas to inform them once a suitable new site has been found.”

This is not the first time the Banbury centre has been at risk of closure.

In 2013, a campaign by the Banbury Association of Driving Instructors (BADI) led to a stay of execution for the centre when a new five-year lease was signed.

But now that lease is up and will not be renewed.

BADI chairman, Sally Franklin, said: “DVSA say they are going to look for new suitable premises but the problem is I don’t think they have enough willpower or manpower to find suitable premises.

“It would mean Banbury people having to go to Oxford, but there are also a lot of outlying places, like myself for example, for whom the nearest test centre is 20 miles away. It would be a shame to lose it.

“We need someone with an idea where it might go. There must be a place in Banbury that is suitable.”

She added at one stage in the past, Bodicote House had offered space, but it was taken back because there were concerns about access to the car park.

“We’ve got 18 months to find somewhere and get it approved,” she said.