Thursday, 21 May 2009

DSA Test & New Test Centres (MPTC)

The saga of the DSA and its off-road test centres (MPTC - Multi-Purpose Test Centres) has been rumbling on for some time, but has lately taken a couple of twists.

One you'll probably have heard about: Riders falling off during tests, one sustaining a badly-broken arm in the process (is there such a thing a 'good' broken arm?).

More on that:

But a major issue has been the actual process of the DSA even getting the sites built. Some of this has been locating suitable areas ("OK< we want somewhere close to an urban area suitable for car and bike tests, all mains facilities, to build a substantial building, a large car park, and lay 4000m2 of tarmac, with security fencing all around - but pay peanuts even if it is prime housebuilding land"). Rather ironic that now most are bought and built, there's a property crash and - I presume - a drop in land prices.

And once they've sourced the site then there's the actual planning process to negotiate (probably more difficlut that a brake and swerve test in the rain).

The latest DSA Motorcyle Update (Issue 14, 7 May 2009) tells us:
"Newbury: Planning permission granted to use the site at New Greenham Park, Thatcham . . . There are conditions atached to the use of the site which we are attempting to resolve."

However, the Newbury Weekly News gives more detail:
"The multi-vehicle test centre has already been approved but now the DSA refuses to build the facility unless planners relax a condition which limits the site to six goods vehicle tests a day.

"Greenham Parish Council chairman Tony Forward said: "Having put in an application that they thought would gain favour, now they tell us what they really wanted."

What did they really want?
"Agents said . . . the condition . . . would limit the degree to which the facility could expand . . . DSA wanted flexibility to arrange tests as it "saw fit"."

The article ends:
"Highways officers raised no objection to the variation"

So if the NWN is to be believed, DSA haven't even started building the facility, and with a planning decision likely in June, that's another MPTC that will be running, at the earliest, a year after the test was supposed to have been introduced.


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