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UK church ordered to stop ringing its bells at night following noise complaints from neighbor

(Wikimedia Commons/China Crisis)St. Peter's Church in Sandwich, U.K. is featured in this image.

A historic church in England has been told to stop ringing its bells at night after officials received a noise complaint from a neighbor who was reportedly unable to sleep because of the loud chiming.

According to Daily Mail, the bells at St. Peters Church in Sandwich, Kent, rings every 15 minutes even during the night, but the church had issued a noise abatement notice on Monday after noise pollution officers from Dover District Council deemed the chimes to be "too loud."

Church officials have been told to stop ringing the bells between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., but they have been allowed to let the chimes ring out on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

The Churches Conservation Trust, which looks after the 900-year-old church, has been given 90 days to make the changes or face legal action for breaching the enforcement notice.

The town's 5,500 residents have not previously complained about the noise, and a majority have objected to the noise abatement order, saying it threatened "traditions and history" in the medieval town.

"This is not a democratic decision, the council has ignored the vast majority of its electorate," said Carole George, who leads the campaign called "Save The Chimes."

"The church has been ringing out for centuries, it's not a new noise. It's the beating heart of this town. It is unclear what tampering with such an old mechanism will do, and there is a concern the bells may stop altogether," she went on to say.

According to the BBC, more than 3,500 residents have signed a petition to keep the bells ringing.

A resident named Alan Spears said that he was initially annoyed by the chimes when he moved to Sandwich three years ago, but he soon got used to them.

"Some people complain about anything... if it really disturbs this cretin... move!" another local, identified only as Robster, wrote online, according to the Daily Mail.

The council acknowledged that the decision went against the majority, but contended that it had a "statutory duty to investigate noise complaints."

John Hennessy, the chairman of the Sandwich Local History Society, pointed to a recent poll that reportedly found that 85 percent of nearly 300 residents who live near the church said they would not be happy if the chimes were stopped.

A spokeswoman for the conservation trust said that it does not have the funds to file an appeal, but added that it will go ahead with the plea if the community raises the money to cover the costs.

The Mayor of Sandwich, Paul Graeme, stated that he had spoken to the group campaigning to save the chimes, and noted that they are "fully aware of their obligation in respect of the cost of such appeals."

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