COUPLES will no longer be able to marry in the town’s register office, the county council has revealed.

The town’s register office was previously based at Beech Hurst and was to due to move into the refurbished Andover Library as a way to have library services and register office appointments “all under one roof”.

As previously reported by the Advertiser, Hampshire County Council chiefs said a facility to hold a small marriage or civil partnership ceremony will be made available, but the the authority has now made a u-turn on that decision.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, said: “Earlier this year, Andover Register Office was relocated to the newly refurbished Andover Library, allowing people in the Test Valley area to attend register office appointments and access library services in a modern environment, all under one roof.

“We have already successfully co-located a number of register offices into the libraries elsewhere in the county, with people benefitting from being able to access more than one service at a time.

“As demand for ceremonies at the Beech Hurst venue had been very low, with it being used on average for only two hours a week, we have taken the decision not to provide a ceremonies room in Andover library.”

Cllr Mans added: “Couples can instead choose from a number of venues approved for civil marriage or civil partnership in the Test Valley area, or they can choose to use the high-quality Hampshire County Council ceremony rooms in the register offices in Winchester, Basingstoke and Romsey.”

The council has said that there are a number of licensed venues in the area, including Andover Guildhall, The Hawk Conservancy Trust and Penton Park.

When the plan was announced to allow couples to tie the knot among book shelves it was met with concern and amusement from town councillors.

Councillor Andy Fitchet said: “That’s a stupid idea. You’ll have to walk past Poundstretcher!”

Andover West county councillor Zilliah Brooks added: “I don’t know how many people would want to. Do you get the car up the High Street? Is the bride going to walk from the car park?”