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Ding-dong row over “noisy” village church bells after one person complains


A church clock that has chimed for 150 years has been silenced after one person said it was “too loud”.

The un-named complainant said the Westminster chimes played on the quarter hour 24 hours a day.


The person said the bells ruined their sleep.

Now, residents in Witheridge, Devon, are campaigning to bring the bells at St John the Baptist church.

More than 300 have signed a petition.

One said: “I believe one person’s grievance should not change or affect the joy of many.

“For hundreds of years the bells have chimed, and it’s criminal to silence them now!”

Matt Price, another resident, added: “It’s a church clock – it’s meant to chime!

And Lynne Bull said: “We should keep the clock chiming.

“It’s a part of the church and a traditional part of village life.”

North Devon council issued the local parish council with a noise abatement notice and warned it could be prosecuted for a breach.

The parish council has now installed a £2,000 silencer, meaning the clock will sound only once an hour between 7am and 11pm.

Rev Adrian Wells, the church’s vicar, told the BBC:

“I think the work of the parish council to fit a silencer is a good compromise because the bell can ring during the daytime and be silent at night.

“It is lovely to have the chimes and bells back during the day.

“The clock is a real focal point for the village.”

A North Devon Council spokesman said:

“It was considered that the chime every 15 minutes was likely to wake or disturb the sleep of the complainant and other residents nearby.

“The council has been contacted by other residents expressing disappointment at the silencing of the clock bells.

“However, most of these were not in close proximity to the bells and unlikely to be significantly impacted by the noise.”


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