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Noise row after church told to stop its bells ringing

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A petition to save the night-time chimes at St Peters Church in Sandwich, Kent, has gathered almost 4,000 signatures.

The petition was launched after Dover District Council issued an order for the bells to be silenced at night. Those behind the petition say the order was placed even though there was just one complaint from a resident.

"We recognise that not everyone who has signed the petition will be a Sandwich resident. However, there is clearly widespread concern about the ability of one person to go against the wishes of the majority. This has implications for other towns and villages."

– Carole George,'Save the Chimes' campaign organiser
Th bell tower at St Peter's Church

"We can confirm that a decision has been taken to serve a Noise Abatement Notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 with regard to church bells at St Peter's Church in Sandwich.

"All Councils have a statutory duty to investigate noise complaints under the Environmental Protection Act, and to take appropriate action. There is an appeal process that can be followed where a Notice is served."

– Dover District Council spokesman

The church which dates back to Norman times, is in the town centre.

"The town of Sandwich - England's most complete medieval town - takes great pride in maintaining its heritage and traditions. We are the current custodians of this unique place. The St Peter's clock, installed in 1779, is an important part of this."

– John Hennessy, Chairman, Sandwich History Society

Listen to the bells for yourself: