A CLOCK that found itself at the centre of noise complaints will find itself silenced at night.
The story attracted national attention as the clock has been in its place for 119 years.
Now work will be done to make sure it will not chime at night after it was deemed it could not be halted from chiming completely.
Ian Shepherd, chairman of Millgate Arts Centre on Stoneswood Road, revealed: “Oldham Council have a duty to investigate noise complaints. If the noise constitutes a ‘statutory nuisance ‘ they have a duty to take enforcement measures. Delph Bell does meet the legal definition to be considered as a statutory nuisance.
“The council own the clock and building but obviously wouldn’t serve any enforcement notice on themselves, so a compromise needed to be found. Currently the clock has no facility to silence the bell at specific times.
“Anticipating what environmental health officers would say, I had previously approached another department within the council, requesting funding to carry out some recommended maintenance and to fit a night time silencer. The council agreed immediately to this request and a purchase order was raised within 24 hours, so I was able to instruct the contractor to proceed.
“The work is due to be completed this week and they are taking advantage of scaffolding currently in place for roof repairs. Had the scaffolding not been there it would have added to the cost. After Friday, the bell will ring until 22:00, but remain silent overnight until 08:00 when it will chime again. The bell will remain silent at all times until the silencer is fitted on Friday.”
Mr Shepherd added that Oldham Council had been supportive of the community, many of whom reacted with bemusement to the news of the complaint.
However, all parties have decided the night-time silencer is the best course of action.
He continued: “The council were very sympathetic to views of the community but are limited on the courses of action open to them.
“I feel that this is the best option available and welcome the substantial funding they agreed to put up to achieve this compromise. Had funding not been forthcoming, the bell would have remained silent at all times.
“So far from criticising Oldham Council, they should be thanked for their prompt response to my request and the way they have handled the situation.”
Mr Shepherd also said he will not take issue over the fact someone complained, as they have a right to do so.
He said: “This is the first and only complaint received by Oldham Council about any clock in the borough. The complainant is entitled to his opinion and I would urge everyone to respect his privacy.”