A MOTHER has raised concerns about disabled access to Haverfordwest’s driving theory test centre, after it emerged her son would not be able to do his test there because he uses a wheelchair.

Alison Rathbone of Dinas Cross is worried that her 18-year-old son Daniel, who has cerebral palsy, may have to travel to either Aberystwyth or Swansea to sit his driving theory exam as the test centre at 34 High Street, Haverfordwest does not have disabled access.

The theory test centre, run by private education contractor Pearson VUE, is on the first floor of the building above Barnardo’s charity shop.

It can only be accessed from a staircase of more than 20 steps at the rear of the building on Castle Lake car park.

“I think it needs to be brought to people’s attention that when there is supposed to be equality, that doesn’t really apply to disabled people sitting their driving theory tests in Haverfordwest,” said Alison.

Daniel has been learning to drive since September, and a car has been adapted for him to use by Motability, a scheme which enables people living with disabilities to drive.

His mother originally booked his theory test for the end of December, but now plans to reschedule it for February.

Alison and Daniel are determined he will do it in Haverfordwest, saying he would be exhausted from driving more than an hour to Swansea or Aberystwyth.

She says Daniel would be able to crawl up the stairs to the first floor test centre, but is worried for other disabled learner drivers who might not be able to do this.

Daniel’s driving instructor, Mike Hughes, of A1 Road Skills, has taught several learners who use wheelchairs, and says they have all faced difficulties with the test centre.

“My attitude is everybody has the right to attempt to get a full driving licence. It shouldn’t be the remit of just people who are fully fit and healthy,” he said.

Another pupil of his from Merlin’s Bridge with cerebral palsy did his test in the Haverfordwest centre after crawling up the stairs.

Mike believes the test centre should be moved to a more accessible building.

“There are plenty of other buildings they could have gone into. There is no excuse in this day and age of equality and diversity.”

A spokesperson for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency said: "DVSA's priority is to help people through a lifetime of safe driving.

"We're committed to making sure anyone who’s capable of being a safe and responsible driver has the opportunity to pass their driving tests – both theory and practical.

“We will make reasonable adjustments so that that anyone with a disability can sit their driving theory test with ease.

“There are no plans to change Haverfordwest test centre. However, we have a specialised team who are able to discuss any reasonable adjustments for anyone with disabilities.

“Candidates can call the Pearson VUE Customer Care Line on 0300 200 1188 and the team will make sure there are reasonable adjustments in place.”

More information about arrangements for learner drivers with disabilities can be found at gov.uk

The DVSA have refuted claims about the Haverfordwest test centre including that a learner driver has had to crawl up the stairs to do their test.

When contacted again by the Western Telegraph, all sources have stood by their claims.