Shock decision by county council to close Audmoor House Register Office but service to be retained in Fenland

COUNCIL cuts will mean the closure of Audmoor House, March, register office within the next 18 months and a search has begun for a new venue to stage weddings and civil partnerships.

Cambridgeshire County Council say they have no intention of withdrawing from Fenland and are now looking for alternative venues for civil ceremonies in either March or possibly Wisbech.

Registration of births, marriages and deaths will be switched to Hereward Hall in County Hall.

Councillor Steve Criswell, Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Transformation, blamed the need for “tremendous savings” for switching from Audmoor House.

He promised that residents “will still be able to register births, marriages and deaths in March in the same way as they do now but at less cost to the local tax payer.

“Over the next few months we will be seeking a suitable venue or venues in March, and potentially Wisbech, for civil ceremonies.

“We are clear that no move can be officially finalised until a suitable venue can be found for holding ceremonies.”

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Locally stored registers will switch to Huntingdon but Cllr Criswell said residents won’t notice a difference as these are not looked at by the public.

Cllr Criswell added: “We would like to reassure couples they can still make a firm booking for ceremonies up to 12 months in advance, so they can plan their big day without disappointment.

“Therefore, Audmoor House will close no earlier than April 2012, though we will be reviewing opening hours over the next few months. Any significant proposals for change will be subject to public consultation.

“In the meantime, we will be consulting our employees on the proposed changes, and seeking alternative venues where we can hold civil ceremonies.”

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