Bournemouth beach hut chapel 'first' to host weddings

Bournemouth beach Dorset tourism bosses say Bournemouth's sandy beaches can rival foreign locations

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A little white chapel with a difference - a cream-coloured beach hut - may soon be hosting weddings and civil partnerships on Bournemouth beach.

Dorset tourism bosses hope the golden-coloured sands will become the first in England and Wales to hold weddings.

Planning permission is being sought for a timber beach hut "chapel" because English and Welsh law states a permanent structure is required.

It is hoped the hut will be ready for use from May.

The planning application requests permission for a beach hut to sit on the sand near the West Cliff lift between 25 April and 10 October each year.

Head of tourism Mark Smith said the 11sq m (118sq ft) hut, which would have double-opening doors at the front, would be an alternative to expensive foreign weddings.

"Bournemouth has always been a very popular resort for weddings and couples have always expressed interest with the hotels for a ceremony on the beach," Mr Smith said.

"With the increasing cost of foreign travel and weddings abroad, it's a good time to introduce our very own 'UK weddings on the beach' offer.

"Our aim is to have the project completed in time for the start of the wedding season in May."

Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, Councillor Peter Charon, said: "With seven miles (11km) of sandy beaches, palm trees and luxury beachfront hotels and restaurants, Bournemouth can rival anywhere in the world as the perfect beach wedding location."

Comments are being invited on the plans until 1 April and a decision is expected at the end of that month.

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