Tuesday, December 04, 2012
No freedom to chime in Britain
Westminster chimes do tend to distract people who are not used to them but you get used to them pretty quickly and hardly notice them after that
A church bell which was silenced for the first time in a century following a complaint by village newcomers will continue to chime after a threat of legal action was lifted.
The old bell, which survived two world wars, had been marking the passing of each quarter of an hour in the quaint 15th Century All Saints Church since being installed 100 years ago.
But stunned clergy were served with a council 'noise abatement notice' - prohibiting the bell chiming between 11pm and 7am after a complaint from new residents.
This was issued after village newcomers Jonathan Apps and Tina Hallett complained to North Somerset Council that the chimes kept them awake at night.
All Saints Church in Wrington, north Somerset, was forced to silence the clock chimes completely, as the mechanism could not be turned off just at night.
Residents in the picturesque village were left furious at the decision, saying they relied on the chimes to tell the time as the church does not have a clock face.
Mr Apps and Ms Hallett - who live opposite the church - withdrew their complaint and stated that they did not wish to pursue the abatement notice. But the notice had already been issued - meaning that the church was forced to comply with it or appeal against it through the courts.
Today, a spokesman for North Somerset Council said an agreement had been reached with the Parochial Church Council to limit the church to chiming hourly overnight.
The All Saints' tower was influenced by the design of the Victoria Tower at the Houses of Parliament, which stands opposite the most famous chiming clock in the world - Big Ben.
OK: "Freedom to chime" is not serious. But pole dancing has been held as protected speech in the USA -- so if this had happened in America, there might have been a case.