Doncaster’s register office in scenic Elmfield Park is set to be closed under new plans.
The council is looking to shut the facility at Elmfield House, which is popular among couples who marry there because of its picturesque setting, and may sell the building off.
Instead, couples would register births and deaths at the borough’s Civic Offices on Sir Nigel Gresley Square, Waterdale. Alternative marriage venues have not been confirmed.
Simon Wiles, director of finance and corporate services, said: “We are looking at options to move the registration function at Elmfield Register Office next April. It is anticipated that residents will be able to register births and deaths at our Civic Office and we are exploring suitable locations for weddings and other ceremonies.”
Council chiefs have put forward a series of reasons for the office’s closure. They say people celebrating births, or those distressed because of a bereavement, will no longer be ‘passed to different buildings and services to keep repeating the same information’, while records will be updated more quickly, cutting the risk of ‘incorrect correspondence’.
Selling the building would also reduce the council’s maintenance costs.
However, former council cabinet member Richard Walker, who frequently deals with Elmfield House through his job as an undertaker, said he was ‘concerned’ by the plans.
“I think it is absolutely appalling - Elmfield House is in one of the most wonderful settings in Doncaster.
“Anyone who does not want a religious ceremony for their wedding loves it because of its idyllic situation. It is one of the finest register offices around.”
Mr Walker said parking at Elmfield was ‘superb’, adding: “When people lose a loved one the last thing they want is a hunt to find parking, and other people around at what should be a private affair.
“It feels like putting money before service.”
Elmfield House is a Grade II listed building, which dates back to the early 1800s.