Saturday 20 January 2018

Deal reached over night-time chimes

The clock at All Saints Church in Wrington, Somerset, will chime hourly overnight
The clock at All Saints Church in Wrington, Somerset, will chime hourly overnight

A church clock that has chimed through two world wars will continue to ring out after the threat of legal action was lifted.

The clock at All Saints Church in Wrington, Somerset, was silenced after a complaint by two residents.

Village newcomers Jonathan Apps and Tina Hallett complained to North Somerset Council that the chimes of the clock every quarter of an hour kept them awake at night.

A century of marking time came to an end when council officials issued the vicar with an abatement notice banning the bell from ringing out between 11pm and 7am.

But despite the enforced silence the couple's sleepless nights were only just beginning.

The switching off of the bells caused fury among villagers, many of whom said they relied on them to know the time as the 15th century church does not have a clock face. Many were angry that newcomers appeared to have the full support of the council when no established local had ever complained. And to make matters worse the clock had to be silenced completely because the automated mechanism did not allow it to be turned on and off.

The chimes started sounding again in the summer after the church's steeplejack discovered a computer program that allowed him to stop them from sounding between 11pm and 7am.

The couple, who live opposite the church, withdrew their complaint and said they no longer wished to pursue the abatement notice.

But as the notice had already been issued, the only option was for the church to comply with it or appeal against it through the courts.

North Somerset Council has now revealed that an agreement had been reached with the Parochial Church Council to limit the clock to chiming hourly overnight. A spokesman said: "North Somerset Council and Wrington PCC are very pleased to announce that the case relating to the chiming of the church clock at night at All Saints Church in Wrington, which originated with a noise nuisance complaint, has now been amicably resolved."

Press Association

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