Birch Village SignHome Page

The village of Birch lies about four and a half miles south west of Colchester in the county of Essex. The civil parish of Birch comes within the administrative area of the Borough of Colchester.

On this site you will find information about Birch Parish Council, its Councillors, meetings, the Parish boundary (with maps) and Policies & Procedures.

As a service to the local community, you will find here also information about local organisations, activities and amenities for which the Parish Council is not responsible and for which it cannot, therefore, accept any liability.

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Next Parish Council Meeting - Tuesday, 1st October 2019

The next meeting of Birch Parish Council will be held on Tuesday, 1st October at 7-30pm, in Birch Memorial Hall. The Agenda Notice for the meeting is available as a download from the Minutes & Agendas page.

Parish Council Meeting held on 3rd September 2019

A Press Release summarising matters discussed at the meeting held on 3rd September is available on the Meetings page of this website.

Birch Parish Council's Annual Return for the Year 2018-19

The Council's Annual Governance and Accountability Return for 2018-19 is available for viewing or download in PDF format by using this link Annual Return 2018/19. (See also Annual Return section near foot of this page.)

The Parish Council's Year End Report for the year to 31st March 2019

The Report, summarising the Council's activities during the year 2018/19, can be viewed on the Year End Report page of this website.

Birch Church – Planning Application for Conversion to Residential Use

On 29th July last year (2018) Colchester Borough Council received and registered planning and listed building consent applications from Mr Cottee for the conversion of Birch church to a five-bedroom residence. The proposed development is described on Colchester Borough Council's website as: "Demolition of majority of south aisle (retaining western gable wall). Renovation of retained building envelope, Conversion to single dwelling, including new reinforced concrete raft foundation, partial mezzanine and new floors to tower."

Birch Parish Council was not sent any notification of the applications until the evening of Monday 3rd September. The closing date for submitting comments and objections to Colchester Borough Council was 24th September. Details of the applications (Numbers 181908 and 181909), and of the various objections that have been submitted, can be viewed on the Borough Council's website using the following links: Application No 181908 and Application No 181909.

Birch Parish Council has lodged formal objections to the applications. Objections have also been submitted by local residents and other individuals with relatives buried in the churchyard, by the Parochial Church Council, by the Chelmsford Diocesan Board of Finance (in which ownership of the church building is currently vested) and the Team Rector of the Benefice (who by virtue of her office is the legal owner of the churchyard).

Councillor Kevin Bentley, one of our Borough Councillors, has formally requested that Mr Cottee's planning applications be 'called in'. This means that instead of decisions about the applications being made by an officer of the Planning Department, the applications will be discussed, debated and determined at a meeting of the Borough Council's Planning Committee. Planning Committee meetings are open to the public but it is not known when the Birch church applications are likely to come before the committee. It will depend on the work that needs to be done on the applications before they are considered by the Committee. There are a number of complexities in this case and a number of objections, that need to be considered. As at 3rd September 2019 there is still no news of when the applications are likely to come before the Planning Committee.

Clear Recycling Sacks - Additional Supplies

On the first Tuesday of each month one of our Zone Wardens will be outside Birch Memorial Hall, from 9-00am for about an hour, to issue clear recycling sacks to those who need them. These sacks are supplied by Colchester Borough Council, free of charge, for the purposes of its regular kerbside recycling collections. The Council is keen to encourage the highest possible level of recycling both for the protection of the environment and to reduce the costs of landfill refuse disposal.

Household Items Drop-Off Service

The 'Household Items Drop-Off Service' is the new name for Colchester Borough Council's 'Saturday Freighter Service'.

If you need to throw away household items that aren't collected as part of the regular refuse and recycling collections, they can be disposed of using the Household Items Drop-Off Service. Items are collected from different locations on specific Saturdays (usually three or four a year).

You can take non-recyclable items and garden waste to the refuse vehicle when it visits. Green garden waste should be brought separately so that it can be composted. The following items are NOT ACCEPTED: fridges, freezers and other electrical goods, hazardous waste such as asbestos, batteries, liquids or gas bottles, and commercial refuse.

For details of Drop-Off Service visits to Birch and Layer Breton see the Borough Council's website at

Defibrillators in Birch and Layer Breton

DefibrillatorThe Three Villages Community Association (TVCA) has installed two public access defibrillators, one in Birch and one in Layer Breton.

Defibrillators improve chances of surviving a cardiac arrest. More and more are being placed in community locations to be used before arrival of a paramedic or ambulance. Less than 5% of people survive cardiac arrest with CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) alone but the odds are greatly improved, up to 50%, with the prompt use of a defibrillator and effective CPR.

The latest Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are now built specifically for any person to use, not necessarily someone who has had training. Our local defibrillators, which are portable, are located at:
 • Birch Memorial Hall, Birch Street. Birch, CO2 0LZ
    (located by the main entrance to the hall)
 • The Hare and Hounds Public House, Layer Breton, CO2 0PN
    (located in the garden; access through door to the left of the building)

The TVCA has already run some training sessions in the Memorial Hall so that village clubs and individuals can practice CPR and familiarise themselves with the AEDs. However you can use a defibrillator without having received training. The equipment provides step by step verbal instructions on what you need to do and will "talk you through" the procedure.

The TVCA is happy to provide further training sessions should any clubs or individuals wish to see the training video and learn how to do CPR.

Call 105Power Cuts - Reporting, and Getting Information About Them

Many Birch residents rely on overhead power lines for their electricity supply. From time to time extreme weather conditions and other incidents lead to power cuts in our locality.

There is now a new three-digit telephone number, 105, which can be used to report or get information about power cuts. You can also call 105 to report damage to electricity power lines and substations. The 105 number is free of charge and will put you through to UK Power Networks, the electricity network operator for London, the East and South East of England. 105 can be called from most landlines and mobile phones.

Alternatively you can report or get information about power cuts by calling UK Power Networks on their freephone number 0800-316-3105.

It is important to be aware that cordless 'phones do not work when there is no mains power. During a power cut you will need to use a corded landline or mobile 'phone to call 105 or 0800-316-3105.

Birch Parish Council Information

On this site you will find information about:
 – The Responsibilities and Work of Birch Parish Council
 – Parish Councillors and the Parish Clerk
 – Dates of Birch Parish Council Meetings
 – Press Releases issued by the Council after meetings
 – Minutes and Agendas of Council meetings
 – Year End Report for the year ending 31st March 2019.
 – Boundary and Maps of Birch Civil Parish
 – The Council's Policies and Procedures

Annual Return for the Year 2018-19

The Parish Council's Annual Governance and Accountability Return for 2018-19 is available for viewing or download in PDF format by using this link Annual Return 2018/19. The document includes:
 – Annual Internal Audit Report 2018-19
 – Annual Governance Statement 2018-19
 – Accounting Statements 2018-19

Other Local Information

The site also carries information about:
 – The Village Hall
 – Borough Councillors for the Marks Tey and Layer Ward
 – Colchester Borough Council Zone Wardens for Birch
 – Policing and Crime Prevention
 – The Three Villages Community Association (TVCA)
 – Websites with local content.

Please contact the webmaster or Parish Clerk if you think there is other information which could usefully be added to the site.

Monthly Newsletter: 'Parish News'

This monthly magazine goes to every home and is produced independently of Birch Parish Council. It provides useful information on the many local community social events and carries Council notices, press releases and other information. In addition to a range of articles including our countryside, food and local history, Parish News carries a range of over 40 local commercial advertisements.

Bus Service between Birch and Colchester

Service 92 is operated by Hedingham Buses with the financial support of Essex County Council.

With effect from 3rd April 2018, bus times to and from Colchester High Street are as shown in the abridged table below.

It is recommended that before travelling you check whether there have been any timetable changes by visiting the Hedingham Buses website at


Monday to Friday, except public holidays
Birch Street, Mill Lane 08:0009:2710:5212:5213:5215:5217:02
Colchester, High Street 08:2009:4711:1213:1214:1216:1217:22
Birch Street, Mill Lane   10:2512:25 15:25 
Colchester, High Street   10:4412:44 15:44 


Monday to Friday, except public holidays
Colchester, High Street [GC] 08:2009:4711:1213:1214:1216:1217:22
Birch Street, opp Mill Lane 08:5010:1211:4213:4214:4216:4217:55
Colchester, Osborne Street [AA]  09:3011:30  16:15 
Colchester, Crouch Street [DA]  09:3311:33  16:18 
Birch Street, opp Mill Lane  09:4811:48  16:33 

Disclaimer of Legal Liability

Information on this website is given in good faith, but Birch Parish Council does not accept any liability for the accuracy or reliability of such information. References on this website to other organisations, individuals or businesses do not imply any endorsement, approval or recommendation of them by the Parish Council.

This site has links to external websites. Birch Parish Council has no control over third party websites or services and is not responsible for their content. The existence of a link here to an external website does not imply endorsement or approval by the Council which accepts no liability for loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of external websites.