Report by Tom Wright , Reporter
Friday, April 27, 2012
A CHURCH clock which has chimed for more than a century has been silenced by North Somerset Council because it is deemed too loud.
Villagers in Wrington are bemused and angered after their historic church chimes were cut short following a single complaint from a resident who has just moved next door.
John Ledbury, churchwarden for All Saints Church in Station Road, said the ‘village is in uproar’ after the council enforced a noise abatement notice this week.
The ruling means the clock cannot chime between 11pm-7am. Difficulties in silencing it for certain hours of the day mean it has currently been switched off.
Mr Ledbury said: “As far as I can ascertain, no-one has complained before. The village has become upset because despite discussions with the council, we felt unable to agree to their request [to silence it]. We felt we shouldn’t give in to someone who has just moved into the village and now the council has issued the order.”
The new homeowners, originally from London, are believed to have bought the property last year while the clock was stopped for maintenance work.
Mr Ledbury said he understood that may have complicated matters but said people are incensed by their decision to go to the council rather than talk to the church or Wrington Parish Council about it first.
A meeting involving representatives from the church, parish council and the public was held on Tuesday discuss the issue. He said legal advice was being sought ahead of an appeal.
A council spokesman said the authority hoped a compromise would have been possible, but the tough stance meant an order was necessary.
He said: “Our case officer has assessed the complaint, as has a colleague, and they are both satisfied it is a clear statutory noise nuisance. These staff are qualified in environmental health and highly experienced in noise assessments.
“We would have much preferred not to have reached this situation but having established that a statutory noise nuisance exists, and having tried to negotiate a solution without success, we have now serve an abatement notice to stop the bells chiming at night.”