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Clock History 

News updates:-


The overnight silencer works are booked to be completed dreckly.


We have now received confirmation the Faculty application for permission to install the night silencer has been granted, associated electrical works have been booked and the Clock Contractor notified requesting a date to schedule the installation of the silencer mechanism.  Once works are complete the chimes will be re-instated in accordance with the Abatement Notice restrictions.


The monthly parish council meeting considering North Devon District Council's Legal Dept. response to questions raised, affirmed breaching the Abatement Notice served by North Devon District Council would be a prosecutable offence and breach of the Cllrs Code of Conduct.  The appeal period had lapsed, but an appeal would have incurred not insignificant legal representation costs.

It was agreed to:-

Write to North Devon District Council Environmental Health seeking an amendment to the Abatement Notice to allow the hour strike overnight.

Accept a quotation for the manufacture and installation of an automated solution allowing the chimes to be silenced in line with the Abatement Notice asap with the flexibility to allow the reintroduction of the hourly chime, subject to North Devon District Council's consent, cost £2220+vat (the council reclaims vat under vat126).

It was noted with the limited number of Clock companies there will be an inevitable time delay in implementing the automated solution during which time the chimes would remain silent.


Parish Council considered Abatement Notice and following debate agreed:-

Disable the clock chimes with immediate effect to comply with the requirements of NDC
Abatement Notice in Respect of Statutory Nuisance dated 22/12/23. (Silence the church
clock sounding between the hours of 23:00 and 07:00).

Obtain a quote to automate the above allowing the clock to sound outside of the restrictions.

Report the restrictions in Witheridge Voice. 



North Devon District Council serve the Parish Council with an Abatement Notice.



Email from NDDC advising following their investigation a nuisance had been determined:-

"Two of the Environmental Protection team attended the location on 11th December 2023 at 12:00pm to witness and take sound level recordings. Having reviewed this, the officers are of the
opinion that this does amount to a Statutory Nuisance under the Environment Protect Act 1990".

Clerk responded acknowledging email and advised it would be considered by the parish council at its next scheduled meeting 04/01/24.


Parish Council considered NDC WK202303356 - Noise complaint Witheridge Church bells received from North Devon District Council (NDDC) Environmental Health dated 24/11/23 was reported. The process NDDC
would undertake to address the alleged complaint was noted and it was agreed once the resulting report was received any implications and action required by the parish council would be considered



Environmental Health Lead responded advising unfortunately previous offer to attend parish council was now not possible and continued to provide more detailed information on the investigation process.  The following was provided:-

"It is important to explain that North Devon District Council is legally required under Section 79 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to investigate a complaint of nuisance: ‘where a complaint of a statutory nuisance (noise) is made to it by a person living within its area, to take
such steps as are reasonably practicable to investigate the complaint.’
Under Section 80 of the same legislation, where a local authority is satisfied that a statutory
nuisance exists, or is likely to occur or recur, in the area of the authority, the local authority shall serve a notice (“an abatement notice”) imposing all or any of the following requirements:—
(a)requiring the abatement of the nuisance or prohibiting or restricting its occurrence or recurrence;
(b)requiring the execution of such works, and the taking of such other steps, as may be necessary for any of those purposes.

At this stage we have not determined that a Statutory Nuisance exists as we are currently assessing the noise level and frequency of the occurrence. There is s myriad of case law and common laws that determine nuisance and what needs to be considered. This law has developed over the last two centuries, which we will consider in any assessment.
As well as officer’s personal assessment, North Devon Council will also use specialist acoustic
readings and recordings to inform any decision".



NDDC Environmental Health officer requested to attend parish council 07/12/23 do discuss possible nuisance, accepted offer 23/11/23.



North Devon District Council (NDDC) email received advising the clock chimes may constitute a nuisance.  Clerk responded 08/12/24 advising the matter would be considered at the next scheduled meeting.