Concern over future of popular Sheffield driving school amid asbestos reports

A popular driving school that faces an uncertain future has sparked a lot of debate among Star readers.

Friday, 19th July 2019, 9:02 am
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 1:57 pm

Young drivers have been able to get their first taste of motoring over the years on a series of specially designed routes on the former Norton Aerodrome site at Lightwood Lane, Norton.

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But Norton Lightwood Under 17s Driver Training Area, which offers the driving lessons to 11- to 17-year-olds, has announced that the facility will close in September.

A student at the driving school.

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Sheffield Council has not renewed the school’s lease amid concerns about ‘urgent health and safety issues.’

The Star understands this relates to structural issues with some of the buildings on site, and concern over the presence of asbestos.

Many readers have taken to Facebook to have their say on the matter.

Kevin Doo posted: “Good, safety first.”

Tracy Mack added that it is “such a shame.”

David Leadbeater suggested: “Perhaps appealing to the motoring organisations and to local driving schools could start the funding so that this place could stay open.”

A statement on the Norton Lightwood Facebook page said the facility ‘will be closing in September for under-17s driving lessons.’

An online petition has since been launched in a desperate bid to save the facility and more than 2,000 people have signed it in a matter of days.

One of those backing the petition, Daniel Buxton, said the centre provides youngsters with a “fundamental insight” into driving and added: “Bring back Norton.”

Another called Camille Ramshaw added: “This is a popular place, well-led and managed. It makes no sense to close it down.”

Tracy Parker-knight posted: “This place is invaluable to young people.

“It’s not just a driving school, it is a place of education.”

Coun Olivia Blake, cabinet member for finance and deputy leader of the council, said: “We have taken the decision not to renew the driving school’s lease which expired last week until urgent health and safety issues on site have been reviewed.

“We have no immediate plans to develop the land, which lies within the greenbelt. We will work closely with the driving school to inform them of progress but cannot renew the lease on the site until the health and safety issues have been addressed.”