Couple question 'wisdom' of Cockington wedding extra fee
A COUPLE getting married at Cockington Court in September while Oldway Mansion is out of action have complained that the charges have been set too high.
Robert Somerville and Sandra McWatt missed out on their dream of getting married at Oldway Mansion before work started on its regeneration because Robert fell ill.
He was bitten by a tick and has become disabled with Lyme disease, caused by a parasite carried by the tick.
Robert, who lives in Lower Erith Road, Torquay, said: "It has taken me four years to recover, supported by my partner who is a doctor.
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"At the time we made our initial plans to get married, the cost of doing so at Oldway Mansion was moderate. Because of my illness, however, we had to cancel the wedding.
"It is only now, having finally recovered for the best part, that we have made plans to wed in September.
"I understand Oldway Mansion was left as a bequest by the Singer family for the enjoyment of people in Paignton. The council decided, however, to sell it.
"This means that wedding ceremonies are being provided by the registry service at Cockington Craft Centre. So they have transferred weddings to Cockington Court.
"The council, not the staff, having created this problem has in its wisdom decided to charge couples £276 to send a registrar over.
"For people with limited income the amount charged will be an added burden on the marriage cost."
A Torbay Council spokesman said: "Planning permission was recently given for the redevelopment of Oldway Mansion as a hotel and spa.
"Bookings for weddings and civil ceremonies at Oldway can still be taken up to the end of July.
"The council's registration service, which is currently based in Oldway, will then move to Cockington Court while the redevelopment work is carried out.
"The facilities at Cockington are limited. They will only be able to cater for couples with up to six guests, and we appreciate this will not be suitable for everyone.
"However, there are many superb licensed venues for ceremonies across Torbay at which our registrars can officiate.
"Oldway will once again be made available as a wedding venue, both within the hotel and in the council's register office when it returns there when the redevelopment has been completed."
The fee of £276 is for two registrars to officiate at Cockington, and it also includes a run-through if the couple wish prior to the ceremony.
£44 is the national rate for a basic register office ceremony with up to six guests, and this forms part of the £276 fee.