A local MP has welcomed news that a driving test centre in Southend will be offering more driving tests in the area.
James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, received confirmation from the Minister of State for the Department of Transport that Southend Driving Test Centre will be offering driving tests five days a week.
Back in June, Mr Duddridge met with Stephen Hammond MP to try and secure more testing days as, at the time of the meeting, there was a 16 week waiting list for a test to be available in Southend.
Mr Duddridge enthused: “I am absolutely delighted that Southend Driving Test Centre will be operational five days a week, this is fantastic news. I am thrilled that local residents have supported our local test centre and it is continuing to go from strength to strength.”
This success follows a rigorous campaign in 2008 where Essex MPs sought to retain the driving test centre in Southend on behalf of thousands of constituents and driving instructors. However, this plea was unsuccessful, and the driving centre was later closed.
Despite the setbacks, Mr Duddridge continued to press on for support of local transport training centres. In 2011, he launched a successful campaign to get Southend included in a national pilot scheme, which provides driving tests within community facilities.
Continuing his success, in May of the next year the driving test centre was officially opened with a guarantee that should increasing demand dictate, testing days would be increased. In August of the same year, Mr Duddridge received confirmation that three examiners would be available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from the week commencing 28 September, much to the delight of residents and instructors alike.
He added: “When I speak to local driving instructors and learner drivers they have nothing but praise for our local facility and I know that they too will be thrilled with the news.”