Council plays ‘balancing act’ over Ashwell church chimes

Noise from St Mary's Church chimes have been a bone of contention between residents who disagree abo

Noise from St Mary's Church chimes have been a bone of contention between residents who disagree about their impact on the local community - Credit: Archant

A town council is playing a “balancing act” after residents disagree over the length of time a church’s chimes should be silenced.

As previously reported in the Crow, Ashwell Town Council decided to place a timing mechanism on St Mary’s Church for a three month trial period, silencing the quarter hour chimes between 11pm and 6am after North Herts District Council (NHDC) decided last year they were prejudicial to health.

At the town council meeting last week (Wednesday) some of the complaints offered to pay for the mechanism if the period of silence was extended by an hour. This offer outraged the Save the Chimes group, who are campaigning the keep the chimes.

On Twitter the accout @SaveOurChimes they said: “Utterly disgusted by the actions of our Parish Council and NHDC at the PC (parish council) meeting last night (Wednesday). Chimes to be silence at night on trial basis.”

Chairman of Ashwell Parish Council Peter Long said: “We have tried to get a compromise between people who want them switched off in the night and the people who want them to stay on.


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“We’ve raised about £600 already and we need around £2,000 to buy the timing mechanism which can be installed once we have permission from the church which is expected shortly.

“It has been a balancing act but we have to try and reach a solution where every party is happy and doesn’t feel like they’ve lost out.”

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There had been a rumour that NHDC had pledged to give the council £500 towards funding for the bells however Cllr Andrew Young, NHDC Arbury ward councillor, said this was only on offer if the all parties agreed on a compromise.

He added: “As no compromise has been reached, there is no offer of funding on the table.”

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