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Parish leaps to defence of 'noisy' church bells
Parishioners have leapt to the defence of a Croxley Green church which has had its 140-year-old clock chimes silenced following a complaint from a resident.
All Saints Church in the Green was served with a noise abatement notice by Three Rivers District Council on Wednesday September 26 – banning chimes between 11pm and 7am.
The bells have chimed on the hour every hour since the 1870s but the ancient mechanism can’t be set to work between specific times so has been deactivated completely.
The order comes after an officer from the council’s environmental health department visited the complainant’s house, in Windmill Drive to measure the volume of the bells and confirm they were above statutory limits.
The church has until October 17 to appeal and officials are still considering whether to make a legal challenge through magistrates’ court in the hope of having the ban rescinded.
Reverend Miriam Mugan said: “We met on Tuesday night to consider our position.
“The local community has been very vociferous in its support to maintain the chiming bells over a 24 hour period.
“There has been a lot of contact from people in the community in the form of letters and emails.”
Barry Grant, chairman of the Croxley Green Residents’ Association, said he was astonished a single note chiming once per hour could annoy anyone, let alone prompt a noise complaint.
He said: “It should never have got to this stage. They must have known the church could not do anything other than keep it going full time or turn it off completely.
“It is expensive for the church to appeal and that is money that can be better spent elsewhere and it would cost the taxpayer too.
“They just followed the letter of the law on this one but surely it’s not right for one person to complain and everyone else is affected.”
Since the Watford Observer reported the enforcement notice last week, dozens of residents have chimed in to support the church, describing the bells as “a part of Croxley Green life” in an online forum set up by the residents’ association.
Keith Wall commented: “It is an accepted part of what a church clock does, to ding and to dong. It is not only tolerable, it is a delight.”
Maryann Lowry added: “What a shame the bells are silent, Croxley just doesn’t sound the same any more.”
"The environmental health officer followed the law as she interpreted it.
"The council, like everyone else, has to follow the law however uncomfortable we are with it.
"I hope we can find a compromise but we will have to re-look at this."
A Three Rivers District Council spokesman said: “A complaint about noise at night which was disturbing sleep was investigated. We have a legal duty to investigate noise complaints.
“The recipient has 21 days to appeal against the notice.”
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