Report by Charlotte Richardson , chief reporter
Monday, July 23, 2012
CONFUSED couples face disappointment ahead of their big day as their wedding venue could be sold before they walk down the aisle.
North Somerset Council wants to move ceremonies from Weston Register Office to the Town Hall, but has no idea when and how the move will take place.
It cannot tell couples booked into the Boulevard building if they will need to change their wedding venue and is still taking bookings for the ceremony room in the register office a year in advance.
The local authority says no changes will take place before January, but it does intend to move weddings to the old chamber of the Town Hall as part of the council’s £9.7million plan to create ‘much more efficient, cheaper and accessible offices for staff and residents’.
It is unclear whether the dozens of couples booked in for their big day next summer are being warned when they book their wedding that their ceremony could be held somewhere different and that the register office is set to be sold.
But the Mercury can confirm a number of brides-to-be have been shown the ceremony room at the register office and told they can book their special day there a year in advance – with no word of warning about the changes.
One bride-to-be told the Mercury: “Brides will stand and wait in the Town Hall while council staff come and go for lunch and meetings.
“It is not a nice period building, it is a modern functional space, not what you want for that special day.”
The council says it is consulting with the General Register Office over the changes, but details over timescales are still ‘under consideration’.
Registration of a birth or death is also set to be moved to the Town Hall in Walliscote Grove Road, Weston.
North Somerset councillor Mike Bell voiced objection over the proposed move last year when the idea was first mooted.
He said this week: “It seems extraordinary that even after £10million of expenditure at the Town Hall and much detailed planning they still don’t really have a clue how they are going to move the registration service.
“Is it desirable anyway? Will couples be queuing up to marry in the dark and dingy old council chamber?”