It may be that couples will no longer be able to get married in the Andover Register Office.
It transpired this week that the closure of the Beech Hurst Ceremony room and the opening of a new smaller office in Andover Library means that couples will not be able to get married in the Register Office.
According to one listener to Andover Radio, despite assurances reported in February this year, couples are being told by Hampshire Council that they would “need to travel to Basingstoke for a civil wedding”.
Whilst the Register Office will be open to register births and deaths, the “lack of suitable space” precludes weddings.
In the February article in the Andover Advertiser, county councillor Zilliah Brooks said, “I don’t know how many people would want to [get married in the Chantry Centre]. Do you get the car up the High Street? Is the bride going to walk from the car park?”
Publicity material and the Hampshire Council website no longer lists Andover as a marriage ceremony location. The county council’s HantsWeb website cites Basingstoke, Winchester and Aldershot as the nearest places to get married at a Register Office.
The only alternative for couples wishing to get married in Andover is either a religious ceremony or a more expensive licensed wedding venue such as the Guildhall.
The radio station listener commented, “With the loss of Marks and Spencer, the downsizing of the Post Office and the closure of several shops, this is just another example of Andover being downgraded to a second-class town and a lack of confidence in our town by Hampshire Council.”
Love Andover has attempted to get a response from Hampshire County Council through Andover Library but received no acknowledgement.