The Government is partnering with Halfords retail stores and other public and private sector partners to provide practical driving test premises in selected areas that don’t already have a local test centre.
There are 21 locations across the UK and the Government is inviting proposals from other businesses, which could potentially include dealers, to offer facilities at no cost to Driving Standards Association, and tests will continue to be conducted by DSA examiners.
There are no plans to host test premises at Halfords Autocentres locations.
The DSA began exploring a new approach to test delivery last year, offering tests from premises such as local authority buildings and leisure centres.
Halfords has been selected by the DSA as a preferred partner, and is also exploring partnerships with the Fire and Rescue Service and several universities.
In one location the DSA also expects to sign an agreement with training company Mantra Learning.
Mike Penning, road safety minister, said: “It is vital that public services are as open and accessible as possible.
“This initiative is a great example of how working with partners in the public and private sectors can help to ensure that we offer people the best possible service wherever they live.
“Our aim is to provide all driving test candidates with a local service that is convenient as well as being cost effective.”
The scheme focuses on 21 locations, centred around five different areas across the country (Glasgow, Kettering, Manchester, Watford and Worcestershire). Testing from partner premises in these locations is expected to start from the autumn.
Kettering area: Corby, Market Harborough, Wellingborough; Glasgow area: Johnstone, Renfrew, East Kilbride, Cathcart, Bearsden; Manchester area: Cheadle, Altrincham, Salford, Middleton, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham; Worcestershire: Kidderminster, Droitwich, Bromsgrove; Watford area: Hemel Hempstead, Harpenden, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City.