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 February 2018
The next meeting of Birch Parish Council will be held on Tuesday 6th February at 7-30pm, in Birch Memorial Hall.
Litter Pick in Birch - Friday 2nd March 2018
Another 'litter pick' in Birch is being arranged by Gary Cole, our Zone Warden. This will take place on Friday 2nd March. If you are able to assist with this effort to tidy up the village, please meet at Birch Memorial Hall by 10-00am. As before, hi-vis outwear, pickers and black bags will be provided. The litter pick will end at about 12 noon when the bags of waste will be collected from outside the village hall for disposal.
Parish Council Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, 2nd January 2018
The meeting scheduled to take place on 2nd January 2018 had to be cancelled due to the number of councillors affected by 'flu and colds or otherwise unable to attend. Where appropriate, business that was on the agenda for the January meeting will be carried over to the February meeting.
Parish Council Meeting held on 5th December 2017
A Press Release summarising matters discussed at the meeting held on 5th December is available on the Meetings page of this website.
Birch Church Public Inquiry
On 9th February (2017) the Church Commissioners wrote to the Secretary of State asking that he might reconsider his decision to hold a non-statutory public inquiry into the proposed demolition of Birch church. On 6th December the Department for Communities and Local Government wrote to the Commissioners with the Secretary of State's decision on their request. The Secretary of State has decided that an inquiry, as originally directed in his decision letter dated 18 July 2014, remains the appropriate mode of determination in this matter.
The Planning Inspectorate will now be instructed to proceed with the inquiry arrangements. As yet there is no indication of how long it might be before the Inquiry is held. Nearly three and half years have passed since the Secretary of State originally decided the matter should proceed to a Non-Statutory Public Inquiry.
Essex Energy Switch - An Essex County Council Initiative
Essex residents can save over £250 on their gas and electric bills by joining the Essex Energy Switch which harnesses people power to secure cheaper deals from energy suppliers.
The county’s collective switching initiative has already saved thousands of Essex people more than £2,297,539 from the past five switches. Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: "Rather than switching energy supplier alone which can be a daunting and complicated task, we should work together to save money. By joining a collective switch made up of thousands of like-minded people, we increase our purchasing power so we can negotiate a better deal from energy suppliers, who compete against each other at auction to offer the best tariffs. Paying over the odds for your electric and gas is not fair, so I hope people take advantage of the Essex Energy Switch. It’s a safe and easy way to save money in which we take all the hassle out of switching."
Registration opens on Tuesday, December 5 2017, and closes on Tuesday, February 13 2018, before the one-day auction. Everyone who registers will receive a personalised offer on 23 February, 2018, which details how much they could save by switching to the winning provider, or cheaper tariff. But there is no obligation for people to take up the offer. Cllr Finch added: "At the last switch in May, we had more than 6,500 people sign up to switch saving around £250 per year on their bills. People who have been on the same tariff with the same supplier for a number of years are particularly like to make savings. But even those who switched recently could still save more money by signing up again, after all it only takes five minutes online and we don’t want anyone to lose out."
To register for the next auction, visitwww.essex.gov.uk/energyswitch or call 0800 0488285. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can ask a relative, friend of neighbour to help because registrations can be made using their email address. One email address can be used up to five times to register for the scheme.
If you're not connected to the mains gas supply it is still possible to save money on heating oil by joining the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) community oil buying scheme www.essexrcc.org.uk/Oil_Buying_Scheme.aspx
If you registered last year, you will still have to register for this round.
Clear Recycling Sacks - Additional Supplies
On the first Monday of each month (w.e.f. 6th November 2017) 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.
Support for Older People and Informal Carers
Community Agents Essex is a countywide network of agents and volunteers who support older people and informal carers to find and develop independent living solutions from within their local community.
The network of agents and volunteers supports independence by reducing isolation and providing support with daily living skills and aids. Agents can help with things like paperwork and offer advice on matters such as benefits, mobility aids and adaptations. If you are unsure about where to turn or who to ask, agents can guide you in the right direction. They aim to keep you safe, happy and well within your own home. They can visit you in your own home to discuss your needs and agree the best courses of action that are right for you.
Defibrillators in Birch and Layer Breton
The 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.
Power 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 2017.
– Boundary and Maps of Birch Civil Parish
– The Council's Policies and Procedures
Birch Parish Council Annual Accounts and Returns
The Council's Accounts for the Year Ended 31st March 2017 are available for viewing or download in PDF format by using this link Annual Accounts - Year Ended 31/3/17.
The Council's Annual return for the year ended 31 March 2017 is available for viewing or download in PDF format by using this link Annual return 2016/17. The return contains four sections:
Section 1 - Annual governance statement 2016/17
Section 2 - Accounting statements 2016/17
Section 3 - External auditor report and certificate
Annual internal audit report 2016/17
The Council's Accounts for the Year Ended 31st March 2016 are available for viewing or download in PDF format by using this link Annual Accounts 2015/16 Also available for viewing or download in PDF format are the Annual Accounts 2015/16 - Bank Reconciliation Details
The Council's Annual return for the year ended 31 March 2016 is available for viewing or download in PDF format by using this link Annual return 2015/16. The return contains four sections:
Section 1 - Annual governance statement 2015/16
Section 2 - Accounting statements 2015/16
Section 3 - External auditor certificate and report 2015/16 Certificate
Annual internal audit report 2015/16
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.
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.
For further information and contact details, see www.bretonheath.me.uk/parnews.htm
Bus Service between Birch and Colchester
Service 92 is operated by Hedingham Buses with the financial support of Essex County Council.
As at September 2016, 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 www.hedingham.co.uk
BIRCH to COLCHESTER
|Monday to Friday, except public holidays|
|Birch Street, Mill Lane||08:05||09:27||10:52||12:52||13:52||15:52||17:02|
|Colchester, High Street||08:25||09:47||11:12||13:12||14:12||16:12||17:22|
|Birch Street, Mill Lane||10:25||12:25||15:25|
|Colchester, High Street||10:44||12:44||15:44|
COLCHESTER to BIRCH
|Monday to Friday, except public holidays|
|Colchester, High Street [DC]||08:25||09:47||11:12||13:12||14:12||16:12||17:22|
|Birch Street, opp Mill Lane||08:55||10:12||11:42||13:42||14:42||16:42||17:55|
|Colchester, Osborne Street [AA]||09:30||11:30||16:15|
|Colchester, Crouch Street [DA]||09:33||11:33||16:18|
|Birch Street, opp Mill Lane||09:48||11:48||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.