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Sandwich: Public meeting to save historic St Peter's church clock chimes after single complaint

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A date has been set for a public meeting which will try and dissuade a resident from pursuing his complaint about the level of noise from St Peter’s Church clock.

Decibel tests at a nearby resident’s home concluded the historic chimes are too loud and Dover District Council is expected to issue a notice to the church’s owners the Churches Conservation Trust to silence them between 11pm and 7am.

In a last-ditch attempt to save the chimes, Sandwich Town Council has called a public meeting offering the complainant a chance to share his side of the issue as well as understand how this decision will affect the community.

St Peter's church clock could be stopped from chiming at night
St Peter's church clock could be stopped from chiming at night

It will be hosted by the Mayor of Sandwich Cllr Paul Graeme at The Guildhall on Tuesday, August 15 at 6.30pm.

Nadeem Aziz , chief executive of DDC, and Paul Neagle, environmental protection manager at DDC, will also be present to explain about the legal process that must be followed when investigating a noise complaint as well as to answer questions.

A representative from the Church Conservation Trust will also be there.

Cllr Dan Friend, who has been publicising the event on social media, said: “This is a great opportunity for Sandwich residents to be able to share their views about the chimes to the CEO of DDC and all the relevant officers. I hope to see lots of people there.”

Sandwich Local History Society and The Sandwich Society conducted a survey which 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.

A spokesman for the CCT said: “St Peter’s Church clock, made by Gillet & Co in 1887, is linked through a carillon mechanism to the bells which play the Westminster chime every 15 minutes throughout the day and night.

“This local tradition is believed to go back over 100 years.

“The Churches Conservation Trust supports and respects local traditions and has no desire to change a long-established tradition against the will of the local community.

“However, should an abatement notice be served, the trust accepts that it will be under legal obligation to comply.

“In the meantime, we will continue to liaise closely with the local community and statutory bodies to find a suitable resolution to this matter.”

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