I have received a letter from the Minister at the Department for Transport confirming that the driving test centre in Bury is scheduled to re-open on 30th March.
The centre has been closed after water from a burst water pipe caused extensive damage. The Driving Standards Agency decided that at the same time as carrying our the essential repairs some work would be done to improve the facilities. I understand the revamped centre will be more energy efficient with better insulation, double glazing and motion sensitive lighting. Hopefully this will secure the long term future for the centre.
I know how many people continue to be concerned at the delay in re-opening the Bury Driving Test Centre. It’s closure has resulted in increased costs and anxiety for learner drivers and enormous problems for instructors. I was originally told it would re-open by the end of 2011. Then I was told it would re-open in February 2012. Clearly this is not now going to happen. Understandably the continued closure led to speculation that the centre would never re-open. I have asked about the future of the Centre in the House of Commons, put down official Written Parliamentary Questions and written to the Minister at the Department of Transport. The latest letter I have had from Mike Penning the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Transport is dated 8th February and states that the Driving Standards Agency now expects work to begin in late February and they aim to re-open the Centre in late March.
UPDATE 20th Feb: I have now received a reply to my Written Parliamentary Question which states “The driving test centre at Bury is expected to reopen by the end of March 2012. The reopening has been delayed as there was a need for structural and asbestos surveys prior to issuing contract tenders. Works are forecast to begin in late February 2012 and will be completed in late March 2012.”