FLINTSHIRE’S only driving test centre will close next week.

The closure of the Mold centre will be a blow to the county’s economy, it has been claimed.

The government has confirmed Mold Test centre on St David’s Lane will shut on Tuesday.

It will be replaced by a state-of-the-art facility in Wrexham, meaning drivers from Flintshire will have to take their tests either there, in Chester or Rhyl.

Community leaders who begged the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to reconsider the move said they were saddened to see the closure going ahead.

Mold town councillor Stephanie Hulley told the Leader: “We need every asset we can get in Flintshire while we’re coming out of a recession. The centre was a big help to us, a real bonus that brought business to the town.

“We wrote to the DSA but unfortunately there was nothing we could do and their mind was made up. Residents and the instructors are very disappointed to hear this.

“It’s just totally unfair.”

Driving instructors, who petitioned the government when the closure was first proposed, fear the move will double lesson costs for learners and deal a major blow to Mold’s economy.

But the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) said “co-locating” the Mold centre within the new Wrexham site wouls save money and ultimately mean cheaper tests.

Mold-based instructor Ian Langford said his pupils were disheartened at having to travel out of the county for tests.

He added: “Pupils who practise in Mold really want to do their tests here because they know the roads well.

“Now they’re disappointed they will have to travel to Wrexham and Chester. Driving around Wrexham is a nightmare at the best of times.

“Pupils will now have to pay for a two-hour lesson just so we can get to Wrexham and Chester to begin their tests. It is going to be a wrench.”

The new centre on Wrexham Technology Park will begin operating for tests on April 7.

A DSA spokesman said: “We’re delighted to be able to provide a new car test centre in Wrexham which offers more modern, improved facilities to customers and staff.”