Church chimes complaint withdrawn

7:12pm Saturday 5th May 2012

© Press Association 2014

A village church clock looks certain to ring out in victory after a couple responsible for silencing its chime withdrew a complaint.

Newcomers Jonathan Apps and Tina Hallett complained the chimes of the clock at All Saints Church in Wrington, Somerset, kept them awake at night.

Local clergy were stunned when North Somerset Council slapped a Noise Abatement Notice (NAN) on the offending clock's night-time activity.

A century of marking time every 15 minutes came to an end with a 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 council decision attracted a barrage of threatening and offensive letters which did little to promote sound sleep.

Long-time village residents were also far from giving the decision their ringing endorsement. Many were angry that newcomers appeared to have the full support of the council when no established local had ever complained.

To make matters worse the clock had to be silenced completely because the mechanism did not allow it to be turned on and off.

Now the couple have dropped their complaint, opening the way for the withdrawal of the NAN. The move follows a "conciliation meeting" between church representatives and the couple.

The outcome was a statement which is carried in full on the village's official website. It reads: "Jonathan and Tina have, on 1 May, instructed North Somerset Council that they do not wish to pursue the case about the chiming of the Church clock at night."

It adds that the couple never intended to cause offence to the local community nor did they ask for the NAN. It concludes with a plea from church representatives asking residents to welcome the couple into the community.

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