A NUMBER of jobs could be cut at the £60 million Hive as well as making the landmark building a wedding venue in a bid to save money.

The golden-cladded centre’s archives and archaeology department is facing a shock 62 per cent cut in funding, from £1.2m a year to just £450,000.

Under the proposals, the county council says it wants to recruit a team of volunteers to make up for scrapping some paid positions.

The authority also says it wants to start charging for some services that used to be free, and get a licence for the building to host wedding ceremonies to bring in cash, part of plans to cut £98m from spending by 2017, with most of the archives and archaeology department’s spending reductions set to kick in next April.

The department keeps old parish registers, newspapers, wills, maps and electoral registers and can produce microfilms or digital copies of documents.

It also hosts a conservation studio where staff can preserve paper, parchment, leather and cloth-bound items.

A special searchroom used to examine historic archives will also have its hours cut, although the reductions have yet to be detailed.

Proposals over the cuts are still in their early stages, but a new report on it says the services should become more “commercial”.

The cuts to staffing are being kept under wraps, with consultations running until the end of January, although the department employs 25 full-time equivalents. A wedding licence could bring in thousands of pounds if it proves a hit with the public, and comes after the Guildhall started offering the same service back in July.

Councillor Peter McDonald, leader of the opposition Labour group, said: “This is devastating news, it’s not the Christmas present we wanted.

The Hive offers a real education and once you start charging people for these services, it’s the beginning of the end.”

But Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities, said: “Proposals are at an early stage and we are looking at ways we can redesign our archive and archaeology service at the Hive.

“We are looking at staffing levels, use of volunteers as well as options around the offer available to the public that can be charged for.

“Worcestershire's archive and archaeology has been recognised by National Archives and English Heritage as delivering a high quality service. However we recognise that savings have to be achieved in this area.”

* Meanwhile, the Hive building has scooped another design award. It has received the national award for the Outstanding Public Building from the Society for Construction and Architecture in Local Authorities Civic Building of the Year Award. The structure, Britain’s first joint university and public library, was recognised for its stylish and practical design and its success as a community and academic facility for all. Professor David Green, the vice chancellor of the University of Worcester, said: “We are delighted that the Hive has won yet another award. “The recognition the Hive has achieved is a testament to the creativity, innovation and vision of the architects and the two partnerships.”