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South Lakes businesses to be hit by Vehicle Test Centre closure

October 18, 2016 5:06 PM

Local businesses will be left to travel further to service vehicles due to the planned closure of the testing site in Milnthorpe. South Lakes MP Tim Farron has accused the government of "overlooking the needs of rural businesses in areas like South Lakeland".

The Goods Vehicle Testing Station at Milnthorpe currently provides vehicle testing services to businesses across the South Lakes, however it is planned to close in early 2017. Once the centre closes, local businesses will be left with a far longer journey to access these services, with the next nearest centres found in Penrith, Lancaster, or Barrow-in-Furness.

Tim has been contacted by a number of local businesses concerned about this change, and has been in contact with Government ministers to express his concerns. A Department for Transport Minister has said in a letter to Tim that the government "will not close a GVTS [Goods Vehicle Testing Station] unless it is confident local demand will be met by ATFs [Authorised Testing Facilities]." However, the impact of the additional cost to businesses was not referred to.

Tim said: "This is a short-sighted decision by the government, which will have a negative impact on businesses across the South Lakes area. These businesses are critical for the local economy, and the government should be supporting them. Instead, it will hit their bottom line by forcing them to waste time and money driving for hours to test their vehicles.

"There are also serious questions about whether the centres elsewhere will be able to absorb the extra demand, or whether in fact it will just become even more difficult for businesses to book vehicles in for testing."