GETTING married in the mayor’s parlour or council chamber could be possible as early as next year after a proposal to conduct civil ceremonies at Worthing Town Hall was approved.
Worthing Borough Council will apply for approved premises status for the 82-year-old building, which could raise up to £181,000 in the first three years.
Cabinet members voted in favour of the idea on Tuesday – but have been warned by UKIP that investment in the historic building may be required to bring it up to standard.
Head of culture Amanda O’Reilly told the joint strategic committee on Tuesday: “We have the chance to offer an excellent service to local people on one of the best days of their lives.
“That building can suddenly become something special – a wonderful place where wonderful things happen.”
The idea was first brought up on Thursday during a scrutiny committee question and answer session with cabinet member for resources Mark Nolan.
UKIP councillor Charles James said: “If we are going to have approved status then the town hall has got to look the part because we are in competition with lots of other venues.”
Mr Nolan said some initial works would be funded by an underspend in the council’s annual budget and the authority would have to look at maintenance costs in the long-term.
The council’s plan would cost £2,711 to obtain approved status from West Sussex County Council and register individual rooms to hold ceremonies in, along with a set up cost of £1,546.
Initial estimates suggest the first three years could create between £21,000 and £181,000 of revenue – with the top estimate requiring an average of between three and four weddings per week over the three years.
The events team would create packages for couples to include catering at venues such as the Denton Lounge, with the Assembly Hall also a potential venue. Worthing Museum could be added as a venue in year two.
Leader Dan Humphreys said: “I have been thinking for a long time about weddings at the town hall and it seems a no-brainer.”
The town hall was completed in 1933, built by architect Charles Cowles-Voysey, whose design was chosen over 47 other entries in a competition.