Ancient church bells silenced after complaints from pub next door

St Andrew's Church in ConistonGoogle

A row has broken out around a Lake District church where bells that have tolled for more than a century have been silenced after guests at a pub next door complained of sleepless nights.

A timer has been installed at St Andrew's Church in Coniston to stop the clock chiming between 11 pm and 7 am, following complaints from the owner of the adjacent Yewdale Inn.

Now, some residents have criticised the decision, arguing that the bells are 'part of village life'.

Pub owner Jeff Hart complained to South Lakeland District council, claiming that the night-time chimes were a nuisance when guests at his nine-room inn were trying to sleep.

The council said that following an investigation it had instructed church officials to take action to reduce overnight noise.

Hart said: 'It would just disrupt your sleep constantly. You're always on edge, especially when the big one comes at midnight. In the kind of job we have it's extremely stressful.'

Hart complained that he had received negative reviews online. He added: 'Living across from the church gives us a wonderful atmosphere. It's just, can we have some sleep please?'

But local resident Anne Hall told the BBC: 'I think for every one that says it is a problem, there are many others that say they like the sound of the country bells. It's part of our village life and when you hear them they give you a feeling of community.'

A spokesman for South Lakeland Council said: 'We received a complaint of alleged noise nuisance relating to the clock at St Andrew's Church in Coniston.

'It is our statutory duty to investigate all such complaints and in circumstances where environmental health officers establish there is a nuisance we always try to find a solution before serving an abatement notice.

'That is what happened in this case. We monitored the level of noise from the clock and advised the church accordingly.

'Since then a new mechanism has been fitted, silencing the clock from 11 pm until 7 am.'