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, 6th October 2020

The next meeting of Birch Parish Council will be held on Tuesday, 6th October at 7-30pm, in Birch Memorial Hall.

Parish News Publication

The printed version of Parish News has resumed with the September issue.

Use this link to view and/or download the AUGUST issue of Parish News which is only available in digital format. This is a PDF document with a file size of approx 2.6 MB.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

BIRCH PLAY AREA - NOW OPEN   (posted 13-07-20)

Following government advice, the play area is now open.

Before visiting, we are asking residents to read the guidance below so they can protect themselves, their children and others when using the equipment and help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should not attempt to use the equipment.

We are asking residents to continue to follow all current government advice in addition to the above:

Thank you as always for your co-operation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Parish Council by emailing:

Birch Church – Planning Application for Conversion to Residential Use

UPDATE (as at 31st January 2020): On 14th January the Chair of the Parish Council was notified by the Borough Council of an Amendment to Mr Cottee's Planning Applications and that comments had to be received within 14 days of that date. A detailed response was submitted to Planning Services by the Parish Council's Clerk on 27th January. The Church Commissioners also lodged a response on 27th January. This revealed, among other things, that a long time ago the Borough Council requested 'archaeological investigations' to support Mr Cottee's applications. About 12 months ago Mr Cottee was advised by the Commissioners that he would need 'faculty' permission for this work. Only now has Mr Cottee submitted a faculty application to the diocese and so it will be several more weeks before the results of this investigation work will be available to the Borough Council. That being the case, one can only conclude that it will be months, rather than weeks, before the applications come before the Planning Committee for determination.

On 29th July 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 2018. 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 lodged formal objections to the applications. Objections were also 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.

Proposed Development at Rear of The Hare & Hounds

On 5th November last there was a public exhibition at the Hare & Hounds public house of proposals to erect four holiday apartments in the paddock at the rear of the Hare & Hounds. There was some discussion about the proposals at the Parish Council meeting held on 5th November.

One of the Sphere 25 representatives attending the Parish Council meeting on 5th November said there had been pre-application discussions with Colchester Borough Council's Planning Department but that it was not intended to submit a formal planning application before the spring (2020).

Councillor Kevin Bentley, our County Councillor and one of our Borough Councillors, asks that residents also email him - - with any concerns they have about the proposals.

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.

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
 – Reports of Meetings issued by the Council after each meeting
 – 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.