The deputy leader of Shropshire Council has met with Oswestry driving instructors as they look to find a way of reducing waiting times for Oswestry-based learner drivers to sit their driving tests.

Learner drivers in and around Oswestry have been waiting up to six months for the next available test at the test centre in Maesbury Road Industrial Estate, meaning more cost for those learning, and frustration for the instructors.

A petition was set up in October by driving instructor Gareth Jones of Stop and Go Driving School and chairman of Oswestry and District Driving Instructors Association, in order to have a permanent instructor at the test centre to allow for more tests.

Councillor Steve Charmley met with Gareth and driving instructor Alan Jones last week to discuss the issue.

Cllr Charmley said the current situation is hugely frustrating for both instructors and learners.

“We discussed the problems which some of the driving instructors and learner drivers have raised before,” he said.

“The main issue being the long waiting time for students to take their tests.

“I think the main problem we’re having is that because Oswestry is a second-tier test centre so to speak, there’s no resident examiner in place, so students are having to wait a lot longer.

“Oswestry is a growing town, so the demand here could fill the capacity in the system for 200 tests a month, but at the moment, the centre is only delivering about half of that.

“That’s why there is a delay at the moment and it’s a huge frustration for the instructors in the town because they’ve got students who are ready to take their test, but then there’s a minimum of a six-week delay which means there is extra cost on lessons for students or their parents in the meantime.

“Obviously that gets worse again if the students fails their test, because that means another few months of delay and more cost again.”

He believes a move to provide more tests in Oswestry would benefit all parties involved, and hopes an agreement can be reached.

He added: “It doesn’t make any sense in my eyes, because if there’s a capacity to do more tests in the town then it should happen.

“It’s not cheap to do a test so more tests would mean an income stream for the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) which they are missing out on.

“There’s already extra expense for the students and frustration for the instructors in the town.

“For me, there has to be a better way of doing things.

“There are 30 resident instructors in the town, but if you add to that instructors from the surrounding areas and some from Wrexham, there are probably 50 instructors operating in the Oswestry area.

“That’s a huge amount of lessons being done which can be great for the economy of the town, but there’s a huge blockage in the system because people can’t take their tests quick enough.”

Harry Killick is a college student who is currently learning to drive and is hoping to soon sit his test in Oswestry.

He said having to wait so long for a test to become available would cause a number of problems.

“It would be annoying having to wait that long, not just because I will have had lots of lessons, but to wait six months to be able to drive and have the freedom to go where I want for work and with friends would be annoying,” he explained.

“It’s quite restricting, when it comes to looking for a job after college, I’ll be having to stay in the local area.

“I wouldn’t be able to travel for work unless I asked for a lift off family members, but that would interfere with their jobs.

He also said that if he were to fail a test and wait another long period of time before his next one, it would cost a considerable amount to keep learning.

He added: “I’d have to carry on with lessons between tests to make sure I don’t forget anything I’ve learnt and to make sure I’m ready for the test when it arrives.

“I’d want to know that I’m definitely ready, but that would mean a lot more money on lessons again which is frustrating.

“I’ll be sitting my theory soon, so I wouldn’t like to wait too long before doing the practical afterwards.”