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Chimes saga at St Peter's Church in Sandwich ticks on as more work is needed

ByEleanor Perkins

Extra work to save the chimes at St Peter's Church will take place as the saga to save the town's tradition ticks on.

Campaigners in Sandwich have highlighted that the night-time chimes have not been sounding for the past three months despite a muffling device being installed to dull their sound.

The clock chimes have not been sounding at night for three months, according to campaigners. Picture: Tony Flashman
The clock chimes have not been sounding at night for three months, according to campaigners. Picture: Tony Flashman

This was the result of an abatement notice issued by Dover District Council after a complaint from a resident found their noise levels were above that recommended by The World Health Organisation.

Now it has emerged, according to Kent County Council councillor Sue Chandler, that more work is required to update the clock's mechanism in order for the muffling device to work "reliably and consistently".

She has awarded money from her Combined Member’s Grant fund to pay for the latest £2,185 bill.

The work, starting on Tuesday, will be carried out by Wayne Francis, who installed the muffling device, and is expected to take approximately one week to complete.

Carole George, from Save The Chimes action group, says the absent night-time chimes is not all that is up with the clock.

Sandwich resident Carole George (centre) has spoken out on the issue
Sandwich resident Carole George (centre) has spoken out on the issue

She believes the Church Conservation Trust (CCT), who manage the church, have been “lax” in their maintenance of the feature.

She said: “The chimes ring on the hour through the day but no longer at the quarter hour and not at all at night.

“It’s intermittent, nothing is constant. And the clock face has been telling different times.

“The CCT are the caretakers of this church and in building the staircase [up the tower] and ignoring the fact there was a cover, I think they’ve been lax.

“The dirt getting into the mechanism because of no cover probably isn’t helping.

St Peter's Church in Sandwich.Picture: Tony Flashman
St Peter's Church in Sandwich.Picture: Tony Flashman

“St Peter’s Church, known throughout our campaign as the beating heart of Sandwich with chimes that have rung out since at least 1779, is an iconic building and important to the town, its residents and visitors for so many reasons. But most of all it is part of our heritage and deserves our protection.”

A spokesman for the CCT said: “We hope this second phase of works will return the clock to working order while achieving compliance with the abatement notice by muffling the chiming to the necessary levels during night hours.”

A DDC spokesman said: “We are satisfied that the noise abatement notice served on St Peter’s Church in Sandwich is currently being complied with.

“We understand some technical modifications may be necessary to the muffler device to improve the quality of sound of the chimes.”

Read more: All the latest news from Sandwich

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