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Derbyshire wedding venue mentioned in the Houses of Parliament

Derbyshire wedding venue mentioned in the Houses of Parliament

A Derbyshire wedding venue was mentioned in the House of Commons during a parliamentary debate about lockdown restrictions and the devastating effect on the hospitality industry.

Shottle Hall, in Belper, was namechecked by Sarah Dines, MP for Derbyshire Dales, who asked health secretary Matt Hancock if he would consider lifting restrictions in areas with low infection rates for venues which can show compliance.

Under current restrictions no more than 15 people can attend a wedding ceremony or reception, even though the Government has allowed smaller venues, such as pubs and restaurants, to reopen without any limit on numbers.

Ms Dines told fellow MPs that the Derbyshire Dales had some “fantastic wedding venues like Shottle Hall” but while the health secretary said she was right to raise the matter he failed to say when he might review the constraints.

Shottle Hall CEO Joanne Nicol said:

“While we completely understand the need for restrictions to be in place in order to protect the nation, it does feel as if the weddings industry is being singled out.

“A bride and groom can celebrate their big day with 13 other people – yet far larger numbers are able to visit pubs and restaurants, where there is significantly less space than a wedding venue.

“We invited Sarah Dines to visit Shottle Hall and she was sympathetic to our situation. We are very grateful that she raised our concerns in the House, although Matt Hancock’s response was extremely non-committal.

“While infection levels are still comparatively low in Derbyshire Dales, it seems unfair not to give the industry, and the countless brides and grooms affected, a little hope.”

In August, the venue urged people to sign an online petition calling for the Government to lift the restrictions and calculate the number of guests based on the venue’s capacity.

More than 100,000 signatures were collected which means the matter will be discussed in parliament on November 9.

Almost all Shottle Hall’s 2020 weddings were moved to dates in 2021, at no extra cost to the couples, although many are rescheduling for the second or third time due to fears that they will be unable to celebrate with loved ones.

Joanne added:

“The financial picture is very bleak for the many small businesses involved in the wedding industry, who have had very little work all year and no signs of that improving.

“Many of our couples have spent years planning and saving for their big day and their dreams are on hold for the time being.

“We look forward to another debate in the House of Commons in November and remain hopeful that where infection rates are low, some change may be allowed.”

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