Uproar in Somerset village as church bells fall silent after noise complaint

 

The clock at All Saints' Church in the village of Wrington has rung out every quarter of an hour for a century.

But after complaints from new neighbours, the clock has been silenced by officials at North Somerset Council, angering long-time residents who think of the chimes as part of village life.

Vicar Nicholas Maddock was told that the bell must not be allowed to chime between 11pm and 7am, but as it cannot be turned off at night, it must remain completely inactive.

Church warden John Ledbury said: "I am sad at the bureaucracy of this country that has allowed it. One person comes into the village and without any reference to the church, has decided to go to the district council."

Church member Richard Thorn, 75, added: "A 98-year-old lady lives in the house next to the church and she has never complained about the chimes – in fact she misses them."

The council said two officers assessed the complaint and "are both satisfied that the noise is a clear statutory noise nuisance".

The neighbours who complained moved in last October, when the chimes had been switched off during a refurbishment. A month later, they were switched back on.

* On 27 April, the successful operation of a timer switch enabled the clock to chime again between 7 o’clock in the morning and 11 o’clock at night. (Update added: 27 September 2012.)

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