A register office is about to close as part of plans to move birth, death and marriage services under one roof.

John Ray House in Bocking End will be closing on Monday, April 4 and all registration appointments delivered there will be moved to Braintree Library.

It initially planned to close on Monday, March 21.

It is one of 17 offices in the county that faced possible closure to make savings. The new ‘community hubs’ will share a space with pre-existing libraries and town halls.

Essex County Council also planned to relocate the headquarters from Brentwood to Chelmsford.

At the moment it costs £135 to tie the knot in the week in the decommissioned room, £200 on Fridays and £260 on Saturdays.

There was concern that even if the council find alternative locations, it will still be more expensive.

Some residents also fear what the use of the empty buildings may be.

Aidan Kelly, who lives on the Kings Park estate, said: “My fear is that this is just another example of the local council selling off assets.

“It could be turned into more flats which will lead to more pressure on the already busy Braintree roads as well as the poor rail link we have.

“Moving services to the library is not the answer.”

Neil Cole, from London Road in Braintree, said he was sad to see a venue close that had so much to offer.

He said: “I was married there about 19 years ago, it's just that it's a beautiful building inside, and it's a shame that this resource has to go.

“It had parking, a park across the road for photographs.

“The library is just that, a library. It isn’t suitable.”

The consultation on the move of the headquarters ran until September last year, and the official sign-off for the registration offices to move came in December.

Anne Brown, Essex County Council cabinet member for corporate, communities and customer, said it would not limit the number of services available She said: “I am delighted to be able to announce the date for the opening of our new community hub at Braintree Library.

“This common sense solution ensures residents will be able to register a birth, death or notice of marriage at a private and comfortable space within their local library.

“I look forward to seeing the community hub model roll out across the county in a bid to simplify access to vital public services.”

The closure of the register offices is taking place over the coming months and is expected to be completed at all sites by the beginning of May.

Braintree and Witham Times:

A NEW list of community wedding venues will replace decommissioned rooms in Braintree and Witham next month.

The Lounge in Braintree Town Hall and The Farm House at Cressing Temple will be availabe after the closure of the rooms at the Braintree Register Office in Bocking End.

Cllr John McKee, cabinet member for corporate services at Braintree Council, said: “We’re delighted that Braintree Town Hall has been selected along with Cressing Temple to replace the ceremony room at John Ray House.

“Braintree Town Hall is a grade II* listed Georgian style building in the heart of Braintree. Happy couples will be able to enjoy the elegant architecture, the finely decorated rooms and excellent customer care in an affordable venue.”

For more information on the venues contact 01376 557776.