A TOURIST attraction near Oswestry is set to become a COVID-19 testing centre.

The British Ironwork Centre has been selected by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as a base for testing, in a bid to increase the number of tests being conducted across Shropshire.

The MoD identified the site as a perfect place for testing to take place, because of the familiarity of the public with its location.

Chairman of the centre, Clive Knowles, is pleased his site is able to offer help to the fight against the virus.

He said: “We were delighted to have been selected by the MoD to help in the national effort to increase testing substantially across the whole of the UK.

“Currently, there are limited centres conducting testing across Shropshire and nothing in Oswestry, so it is incredibly important to add a shoulder to this national COVID-19 wheel.

“We will now await further direction to support the MoD to the fullest.”

Soldiers from the Queen’s Regiment of Gurkha Signals attended the site this week to evaluate traffic movements and parking facilities.

A total of 12 soldiers will be stationed at the testing facility, and the Ironworks has offered to supply porta-loos for both male and female personnel.

Signage will be placed on the main A5 and within the sculpture park to ensure easy and efficient traffic management.

All costs will be shouldered by the Ironworks, and an indoor area, in addition to MoD gazebos, is also being prepared as an area for breaks or admin duties.