Do you live in the Hampshire town of Andover? Are you a learner driver looking to take your theory test? Andover driving theory test centre looks set to be converted into a full-time facility, which is great news for local learner drivers. Â
â€˜The Rendezvousâ€™, an underused community centre, will become the first Andover driving theory test centre to be open full-time. Pearson Vue, which operates the theory test on behalf of the DVSA, has lodged plans for the facility to be open permanently to learner drivers.
The Andover driving theory test centre is one of 28 new theory test facilities opened by the DVSA in 2016. The DVSA said: â€œThe Test Valley Borough Council-owned community hall already hosts â€˜occasionalâ€™ theory testsâ€ â€“ which candidates have to pass alongside a practical driving exam in order to obtain a licence.
However, if plans are accepted to convert â€˜The Rendezvousâ€™, the facility will be transformed into a permanent test centre. The proposals have been welcomed by local learner drivers, who currently face a 36-mile round trip to the nearest theory test centre in Salisbury or a 60 mile round trip to Southampton.
Not everyone welcomes full-time Andover driving theory test centre
While Andoverâ€™s â€˜learner driver communityâ€™ have welcomed the plans, the Town Council has reservations. Katharine Bird, the Town Councilâ€™s chairwoman, agrees that the plans are good for the town, but has raised concerns over the loss of â€˜The Rendezvous.â€™
She said: â€œI think itâ€™s great that it could become a driving test theory centre because we have got a growing population in the town. The Rendezvous is significantly underused, but there are groups that do use it and the town council sometimes use it for meetings.â€
â€œItâ€™s a good facility to have because itâ€™s the only ground floor facility in the town centre. It would be a shame to lose it, particularly as the Guildhall has limited access for people with mobility issues,â€ Bird added.
Meanwhile, councillor Peter Giddings, the townâ€™s economic portfolio holder told the Andover Advertiser: â€œThe number of community facilities the council owns in Andover has increased in recent years, with more buildings being constructed as part of the new residential communities.â€
â€œExamples of this are in East Anton, with the Augusta Park Community Centre and Sports Pavilion and also in Picket Twenty with the Community Centre and Sports Pavilion. All these are large buildingsâ€, he said.
Giddings went onto say â€œThe Rendezvous, located in Union Street, is our smallest venue and has not proved popular with hirers. One of the reasons for this is that it is located very close to the councilâ€™s more popular Upper Guildhall venue. The Rendezvous was little used until last year, when it started to be hired as a venue for driving theory tests.â€
â€œAs part of the councilâ€™s ambition to attract more business into the town centre, it is currently exploring a request for exclusive use of this facility to deliver more driving theory training from Andover. The Planning Application is one part of this process.â€
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