Drivers to face an L of a test?

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LEARNER drivers taking their tests in Hemel Hempstead could be faced with routes including the town’s infamous Magic Roundabout.

An initiative driven by Hemel Hempstead MP and roads minister Mike Penning will mean learners no longer have to go out of town to take their test.

But as a result of a deal that has been struck with motoring superstore Halfords, anyone keen to cast off their L-plates will have to report to the London Road, Apsley store – not far from the notorious gyratory system that has been known to strike fear into the hearts of the unwary.

Hemel Hempstead is top of the list for the scheme, due to be rolled out across the country.

A waiting area will be set up inside the car and bike store, where learners will wait to meet their tester, who will travel over from a central hub in Watford.

Mr Penning said: “The people of Hemel will have the opportunity to take their test locally, which will be much cheaper because they won’t have to drive elsewhere to practice and to take their test.

“I think it will help people be a lot more qualified for driving in their local area. You will be able to take your test in an area that is much more relevant to the community where you live.”

Under the deal Halfords is providing the base for free, which will help keep test fees down. A weekday practical car test is currently set at £62, while the theory test costs £31.

Mr Penning, who came up with the idea when he first took up the roads brief for the government as transport minister, is not allowed to reveal if the nerve-wracking test will take in the roundabout.

However, he did say: “If you are taking lessons in Hemel it is pretty unlikely that you are not going to encounter the Magic Roundabout.”

Up until now learners have had to travel to Watford or St Albans for their practical tests.