A 900-year-old church has been ordered to silence its bells at night after one sleep-deprived resident complained the relentless chiming was keeping him awake.
The bells at St Peter’s Church in Sandwich, Kent – first built in 1100 – currently chime every 15 minutes, even during the night.
Sandwich’s 5,000 residents have never previously complained, but noise pollution officers from Dover District Council were drafted in the check if they were a noise nuisance.
They deemed the chimes to be ‘too loud’, and on Monday this week the church was issued with a noise abatement notice.
Leaders at the Church Conservation Trust (CCT), which look after the historic church, have been told the chimes must stop within 90 days of the notice being served – or face the threat of court action for breaching the enforcement notice.
Bosses at the church have been told the chimes must be stopped between 11pm and 7am – although it has been granted permission to let the chimes ring out on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
A campaign group set up to keep the chimes ringing – called Save The Chimes – launched a petition earlier this year, which has been signed by more than 3,300 people.
The group states: ‘In Sandwich, Kent the bells of St. Peter’s church have chimed on the hour and at a quarter past the hour for hundreds of years. They are the Beating Heart Of Sandwich.
‘Now, due to a complaint to Dover District Council by one resident, the chimes face being silenced from 11pm until 7am each day, ending centuries of tradition.
‘The feeling by the vast majority of Sandwich residents is that this is the thin end of the wedge and if the ban is allowed to go through unchallenged, it will begin the erosion of centuries old traditions in our beautiful medieval town.’