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Plans to move register office to library
7:37am Wednesday 13th June 2012 in News
COUPLES seeking a register office wedding may have to whisper their vows very quietly if a council goes ahead with its latest costcutting plan.
Civic bosses are considering selling off Romsey Register Office at Hayter House and relocating it to the town’s library.
It is part of a shake-up as the county’s register offices face tough competition for weddings from alternative venues.
The county council says there has been a decline in register office weddings in the face of competition from 150 venues in Hampshire now licensed to conduct ceremonies, including hotels, stately homes and even Marwell Wildlife.
But the plan has been met with anger in Romsey.
Town councillor Mike Wenman said: “I cannot think of a more inappropriate location for the register office than Romsey Library!
“Firstly, the library has limited space and is fully utilised with its existing function.
“Second, a library atmosphere, particularly that in Romsey where accent has been given to supporting families with young children, is hardly conducive for registering births, deaths and marriages.”
County council leader Councillor Ken Thornber will decide on the recommendation at his Policy and Resources Decision Day today.
The proposals come as part of the county’s review of all its property.
If it is closed, Hayter House would be sold off to raise money for the cash-strapped authority.
Also included in the plan is moving Winchester’s Register Office to the county offices at Castle Hill and closing Bishop’s Waltham’s part-time office, open five hours per week.
In the last year for which there are figures there were 248 births, 272 deaths and 347 notices of marriage registered at Hayter House.
The income for room use was £18,835 and the cost of running the building was placed at £12,057.
Cllr Thornber said: “By reexamining the use of buildings, co-locating, working in partnership with other local authorities, and relocating to other more widely-used public buildings such as libraries and council buildings, the service can work more efficiently.
“This is an approach that is being adopted across the county to generate around £2m in savings each year, and which has already been hailed an example of best practice by Government.”
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