Lancaster City Council apologises as scaffolding set to take over weddings

The Ashton Memorial is set for repair.
The Ashton Memorial is set for repair.

Lancaster City Council has apologised to dozens of couples who face scaffolding ruining their wedding photos at one of the city’s most iconic venues.

The Ashton Memorial, set at the top of Williamson Park, overlooks Morecambe Bay and the Lake District and is a popular destination for marriages.

But celebrations are being dampened as brides-to-be are learning their beautiful building will be turned into a construction site.

Council officials sent out letters warning couples about the repair works last November, which is part of the council’s municipal building programme, but many had already booked in advance.

Scaffolding is due to go up on February 16 to the east elevation wall with it continuing around all walls until July 28 this year.

More than 40 weddings are currently booked during the construction period and couples are now left wondering whether it will affect their big day.

One bride-to-be, who did not wish to be named, said: “At the time of booking we were not told a single thing about any maintenance work due to take place. The very first we heard of it was at the end of November.

“The fact that most of our photos will have to exclude the building or be ruined by the scaffolding is quite heartbreaking to say we picked that venue based on how is looks and the beauty of it.”

The work due to take place includes replacement of external paving, masonry repairs on all floors, door replacements, external window repairs and resurfacing of balconies amongst others.

Another bride said: “We thought it was totally disgusting they had taken people’s money, not mentioning at all about the work.

“We booked our wedding there back in January last year so surely they knew about the work which was to commence.”

Mark Cullinan, chief executive, said: “We informed people as soon as we could, initially last November and provided more information earlier this month.

“Of course we understand that people plan their weddings well in advance of these sorts of time-scales but unfortunately the work is essential and putting it off would simply increase the risk of unplanned emergency work needing to be taken with the possibility of the building being fully closed with no notice.

“I am very sorry for the inconvenience and any upset that the essential maintenance work will cause but we will discuss with the families involved how their needs can best be met.”

The Memorial is often chosen due to its scenery which can produce good photographs.

Photographer Steve Pendrill believes the scaffolding will not be an issue.

He said: “It is a concern but I am delighted the work is being done.

“It is a beautiful park, the butterfly house is useful and I will be looking for alternatives. It’s not going to ruin their weddings as long as I have anything to do with it.”