THE price of a wedding at the historic Town Hall could be set to soar as Oxford City Council attempts to make more money out of the venue.
Officials at the city council are putting together a new strategy for running the Town Hall, in St Aldate’s, and they say the building is not generating enough cash.
This means fees for some events at the hall are to go up – though the council has pledged that community groups will continue to have free access at certain times.
Holding a civil ceremony in the main hall will rise from £385 to £585 while a wedding reception in the same room will increase by £175 to £2,250.
The city council’s commercial manager Richard Clements said they needed to raise the profile of the town hall as a venue for hire.
The council’s current target for how much it should make from the Town Hall is £541,000 a year but in recent years it hasn’t met this, with forecast income for 2013/14 at £475,000 and 2012/13 at £400,000.
Mr Clements says the wedding price changes will generate an extra £100,000 for the city council.
But the council says “community interest groups” will still be able to use rooms in Town Hall free of charge every Tuesday and Thursday between 6pm and 9.30pm.
At other times the same rooms will be available to community interest groups at a 50 per cent discount.
City councillor Ed Turner, executive board member for finance and efficiency, the authority was looking at a “market rate” for weddings.
He said: “There are some increases but they are not as dramatic as they might have been.
“When you are talking about commercial bodies using Town Hall it is a very useful income.
“But where we have got a community user enjoying a free evening that’s fine and we want that to continue.”
Oxford’s Town Hall was officially opened on Wednesday, May 12, 1897 by the Prince of Wales and is grade II*-listed.
- The town hall strategy will be discussed by the city executive board tomorrow in the Town Hall at 5pm.
Parking fees and council house rents are also set to be hiked as part of the next city council budget
The authority is set to put up parking fees by as much as nine per cent and rents by an average of 5.42 per cent.
At the same time, the council will make £5.4m of savings by 2018.