Home   Sandwich   News   Article

Dover District Council under fire for 'flawed' investigation into St Peter's clock chimes noise complaint

By Eleanor Perkins

A letter of complaint regarding the way Dover District Council has handled its investigation into noise nuisance from St Peter’s clock chimes is expected to arrive with the authority today.

The decision to send the letter was made at an extraordinary meeting called by Sandwich Town Council on Tuesday night.

Members agreed that DDC’s investigation into the single complaint by a resident had not followed “best practice” or “taken into account the wider sensitivities”.

Due to a complaint to Dover District Council by one resident, the chimes face being silenced from 11pm until 7am each day.

Due to a complaint to Dover District Council by one resident, the chimes face being silenced from 11pm until 7am each day.

Cllr MJ Holloway proposed a motion asking for a full review of the matter.

He said: “In the light of overwhelming public support for the chimes of St Peter’s to be retained as they have sounded for over hundreds of years, this council agrees that the mayor should write to the leader of Dover District Council lodging a formal complaint about the way DDC officers have handled a noise nuisance complaint about St Peter’s Chimes.

“The wider Sandwich community and its organisations are concerned that DDC investigations have not followed best practice or taken into account the wider sensitivities, and are therefore flawed.

“This council therefore requests that DDC carry out a full review of this matter.”

Deputy mayor Veronica Liote who chaired the meeting in the absence of mayor Cllr Paul Graeme said the council had received five letters of complaint from various organisations in the town and seen a copy of a Save the Chimes petition which now has more than 3,000 signatures.

Cllr John Bragg suggested the letter was kept “fairly brief”.

He said: “I’ve talked to people and there is a general feeling that something has gone wrong somewhere and they want to put it right.

“I think it should be a short, to the point letter and we should get it off right away.”

It was expected to arrive with Dover District Council this morning.

District council chief executive Nadeem Aziz told Sandwich residents at a public meeting that action was likely

District council chief executive Nadeem Aziz told Sandwich residents at a public meeting that action was likely

The historic clock rings out the time every quarter hour throughout the day and night but due to a complaint to DDC by one resident, the chimes now face being silenced from 11pm until 7am each day.

Sandwich Local History Society and The Sandwich Society conducted a survey that found that 85% of 277 people living in close proximity to the church do not want to end the tradition. Only 15% said they would prefer for it to be silenced during the night.

District council chief executive Nadeem Aziz told residents at a public meeting last month that DDC had a statutory obligation to investigate the noise complaint.

He confirmed the chimes ring at 52-62 decibels following a study taken from the front bedroom of the St Peter’s property with the window open. The World Health Organisation’s recommended levels are 45 decibels inside and 60 decibels outside.

He said a noise abatement notice was likely, to save the council facing fines for maladministration.

An action group named Save The Chimes has since been set up.

Campaigners say the chimes are “the beating heart of Sandwich” and that it is the “thin end of the wedge” meaning if the ban is allowed to go through unchallenged, it will begin the erosion of centuries old traditions in a medieval town.

Cllr Holloway agrees. He said: “If the ban goes ahead, where does it stop? The town wants to make a stand.”

Join the debate...
Comments |

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More