COUPLES will be able to tie the knot at historic Lye and Wollescote Cemetery Chapels which are to be given a new lease of life as a wedding venue.
The West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust scooped just over £1million from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year to bring the grade II listed chapels back into community or commercial use.
And now Dudley Council has confirmed the derelict 19th century building on Cemetery Road is to become a second registration office for the borough.
Duncan Lowndes, Dudley Council's assistant director of culture and leisure, said: “I am delighted we have found a way to bring this beautiful landmark building back into public use at little cost to the public purse.
"This will allow the council to provide a unique and stunning ceremony venue in the south of the borough, while preserving a slice of local history.”
Dudley Council sold the chapels to the not-for-profit West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust as part of a deal to enable them to be preserved for future generations as they had been lying unused for more than 20 years and were considered 'at risk'.
But once restoration work is complete the building - a rare surviving example of two chapels for separate faiths within a single structure - will be leased back to the council for use as a registration office for marriages, citizenship ceremonies, naming ceremonies, civil partnership ceremonies and wedding vow renewals.
One of the chapels will be used as a ceremony room, while the other will become an administration office for people to register births, marriages, civic partnerships and deaths.
Bob Tolley, chairman of The West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, added: “The important thing is that we will not just preserve, but conserve this amazing building and put it to a sustainable new use.
"As a charity we can tap into lottery funds that are not available to councils. We are pleased to receive money from the Heritage Lottery Fund and excited to be able to save this building for the local community."
Work on the facility - located in what was designed originally as a landscaped Victorian park - will get underway in the autumn and the venue is expected to open in 2015, subject to planning permission and other necessary consents.
Currently, the borough has just one registration/wedding venue - located at Priory Hall, Dudley.
Stourbridge Register Office, which was located in the Crown Centre, closed in 2011 shortly before work got underway to bring Tesco to town.