Petition started to get new church bells

Spring Pictures - Daffodils outside Redgrave Church
Spring Pictures - Daffodils outside Redgrave Church

A petition has been started by a church heritage group in a bid to speed up the process of getting new bells cast and hung.

Former tower captain Albert Driver, who died in 2010, aged 95, bequeathed £120,000 to a project to have three new bell cast and hung at St Mary the Virgin Church, Redgrave.

Planning consent was granted in 2012, but the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), which has taken care of the church since 2005, declined the latest set of plans at the end of last year.

Now, a petition has been formed by the church’s heritage group to give the green light to carry out the works after their plans were rejected by the CCT .

The proposed project would see the existing six bells put into a new steel frame, along with three new bells.

The current wooden bell frame would be dismantled, re-erected and preserved on the floor below, complete with original fittings.

Bob Hayward, chairman of the Redgrave Church Heritage Trust (RCHT) said the petition had close to 500 signatures.

“We got the listed building permission but we are still waiting for the Conservation Trust to go ahead,” he told the Diss Express.

A spokesperson for the CCT said discussions were ongoing with the RCHT to come to a solution all parties were happy with.

CCT director of conservation Sarah Robinson said: “This (refusal) was not an easy decision to make and has involved much discussion and careful consideration.

“The proposals the RHCT made in its original planning application centre on the removal of a bell-frame in St Mary’s Redgrave that is remarkable from a historical and conservation point of view.

“The tower, frame and bells at the church were all constructed within a few years of each other in the 18th century.

“The frame also has a builder we know by name which is exceptionally rare.

“This means that together the construction forms a ‘period piece’ with a unique ring.

“Losing these features would be unacceptable, hence our decision to decline the plans in their current form.”

Buried next to the bell tower at the church Mr Driver was the third generation of his family to be a tower captain.