Birch Memorial Hall

The Memorial Hall is Birch Parish's village hall. Built after the First World War, in memory of The Fallen, it has received substantial investment in recent years to improve and update its facilities to meet present day needs.

As the centre of the Parish's community life and activities, the Memorial Hall is used regularly by several village organisations such as the Parish Council, the Women's Institute, the Three Villages Community Association, Birch & Tey Bowls Club and the Three Villages Gardening Club.

Birch Memorial Hall

Ownership and Management of the Hall

Birch Memorial Hall and the land on which it stands are owned by Birch Parish Council. The Council delegates the day-to-day management of the Hall to a small committee with the following members:

Mrs Elaine Bowtle (Chair and Bookings Secretary
Mrs Carol Ninnim (Treasurer)

Members of this committee and other local residents give generously of their own time to look after the hall and its facilities. The committee welcomes the help of volunteers to assist with the maintenance and upkeep of the Hall by undertaking tasks such as gardening, cleaning, minor repairs and redecoration. If you can help, please contact a member of the committee or any member of the Parish Council.

Location and Directions

The hall is located on the south side of Birch village, within easy reach of the Colchester to Maldon B1022 road. From Colchester take the B1022 Maldon road. Pass the Zoo on your left and shortly after, on your right, the Angel Inn at Heckfordbridge. After half a mile you will pass a garage (car sales) on your right. After the garage, fork left off the B1022, following the signs to Birch and Layer Breton. In Birch village, pass the church and war memorial on your left and the school on the right. Very shortly you will come to the hall on your left. For sat-nav users, the postcode is CO2 0LZ.

Hall Facilities

Facilities in the Hall include:

  • Seating for up to 100 people: a hundred chairs and approximately twenty tables available;
  • Spacious modern kitchen equipped with electric cooker, microwave oven, two fridges, freezer, stainless steel double-drainer sink with hot and cold running water, large serving hatch and service counter opening on to the main hall;
  • Gents' and Ladies' toilets and a Disabled toilet;
  • Central heating;
  • Good decorative order; window curtains.

External Features and Facilities

To the front of the Hall is a good-sized car parking area with easy access to the highway. The overflow parking area on the north side of the hall, which was formerly greensward, was surfaced with tarmac in spring 2017. Hall users are encouraged to use this overflow area as well as the main car park. On the south side of the Hall there is an enclosed area designed as a safe area for young children's outside activities in summer. All this is set in attractive rural surroundings on the south side of Birch village.

Disabled Access

A gently sloping ramp offers easy wheelchair access from the car parking area to the Hall, through the main double doors at the front. The Hall also has a Disabled Toilet.


DefibrillatorThere is a defibrillator located by the main entrance to the hall.

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.

This Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is built specifically for any person to use, not necessarily someone who has had training. 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 training sessions should any clubs or individuals wish to see the training video and learn how to do CPR.


The Hall holds a Public Entertainment Licence.

Hirers wishing to sell alcohol during an event in the Hall are responsible for making their own arrangements to obtain the necessary licence and for observing the terms of that licence.

Hiring the Hall

Birch Memorial Hall is available for hire, at very affordable rates, to organisations, private groups and individuals. It offers a convenient and well-equipped venue for meetings, cultural events, exhibitions, shows, training days, social gatherings, wedding receptions, dances, family celebrations and parties.

Booking enquiries should be addressed to the Bookings Secretary:
Mrs Elaine Bowtle
Hollybrooke House, Birch Street, Birch, Colchester CO2 0ND
01206 330388

A Hall Hire Application form can be opened in Microsoft Word format or PDF format.

Complete the first two sections and submit a printed copy of the form to Mrs Bowtle at the above address. If you do not have access to a printer, a copy of the form can be obtained from Mrs Bowtle.

Bookings are subject to Conditions of Hire which are available from the Bookings Secretary and which are displayed below.

Hall Hire Charges

The hire charges shown below are those effective from 1st April 2014 and are subject to change without prior notice. 'Residents' rates are those for residents of the Parishes of Birch, Layer Breton and Layer Marney and for organisations based within these Parishes.

Mondays to Thursdays inclusive
9-00am to 1-00pm £25 £35
2-00pm to 6-00pm £25 £35
7-00pm to 11-00pm £30 £50
9-00am to 1-00pm £25 £35
2-00pm to 6-00pm £25 £35
7-00pm to 11-00pm £35 £55
9-00am to 1-00pm £35 £45
2-00pm to 6-00pm £40 £55
7-00pm to Midnight £65 £80
All Day £105 £145
9-00am to 1-00pm £35 £45
2-00pm to 6-00pm £40 £55
7-00pm to 11-00pm £60 £75
All Day £100 £145
Bank Holidays
9-00am to 1-00pm £45 £55
2-00pm to 6-00pm £50 £65
7-00pm to 11-00pm £75 £90
All Day £110 £185

Conditions of Hire

Birch Parish Council reserves the right to amend these Terms & Condition of Hire and its Hire Charges, from time to time, without prior notice.

1. Acceptance of Bookings

a) Acceptance of bookings is at the absolute discretion of Birch Parish Council and its Memorial Hall Bookings Secretary who are not bound to give reasons for declining a booking. Because of previous bad experiences, it is the Council's policy not to accept bookings for teenage parties (i.e. parties for those aged 13 to 19 years, inclusive).
b) The acceptance of a booking is conditional on the Hirer signing a Hire Agreement accepting these Conditions of Hire.

2. Age Restriction

a) The Hirer must be not less than 21 years of age.

3. Hire Charges

a) Hire Charges will be in accordance with the schedule of charges set down and agreed by Birch Parish Council from time to time.
b) The Charge for each session of hire is payable in full at the time of booking. Cheques are to be made payable to 'Birch Memorial Hall'.

4. Cancellation

a) No refund of the Hire Charge will be made in the event of cancellation less than 7 clear days before the commencement of the booked session.
b) Cancellation with less than 14 clear days notice will result in a cancellation charge of 50% of the Hire Charge or £20, whichever is the greater.
c) All other cancellations will incur a cancellation charge of £20.

5. Security Deposit and Liability for Loss and Damage

a) Not later than the commencement of the hire session, the Hirer shall deposit with the Bookings Secretary a Security Deposit of £100 in cash (not a cheque) to meet the costs or part cost of any loss or damage occurring during, or occasioned by, the hire session.
b) The Hirer shall be liable for the full cost of repairing or re-instating any loss or damage to the Hall or its facilities, including loss or damage to external features such as the car parking area and flower beds, occurring during, or occasioned by, the hire session. For the avoidance of doubt, this liability is not restricted to the sum of the Security Deposit which will be forfeit and go towards meeting the cost of any loss or damage.

6. Hirer's Attendance and Supervision During the Hire Period

a) The Hirer shall be in personal attendance at the Hall during the entire period of the hire session. During this period he/she will be responsible for proper supervision of the premises, its fabric and contents, protecting them from damage or alteration, however minor. The Hirer will also be responsible for the behaviour of all persons using the premises during the hire session, whatever their capacity. This responsibility extends to proper supervision of car parking arrangements, so as to avoid obstruction of the highway.

7. Fire Safety and Arrangements for Evacuation in Case of Emergency

a) The Hirer shall carry out a Fire Safety Risk Assessment before the start of any event and ensure that adequate arrangements are in place for evacuation of the Hall in the case of emergency.
b) At the commencement of each hire session the Hirer shall ensure that everyone attending is advised of the evacuation procedure in the case of fire or other emergency, and of the location of fire exits.

8. Care of the Hall Premises and Contents

a) The use of pins, tacks and nails is forbidden. Holes in woodwork, walls and/or paint damage caused by sticky tape removal will result in forfeiture of the Security Deposit.
b) The Hirer shall supply sufficient refuse sacks for clearing up at the end of the hire sessions. All rubbish is to be placed in the Refuse Cart situated outside the Hall, to the rear of the Ladies' Toilets. The Hirer shall also supply any washing up requisites needed during the hire session and ensure that any Hall crockery or cutlery used is properly washed, dried and put away.
c) At the end of the hire period the Hirer shall be responsible for leaving the Hall and its surrounding area in a clean, neat and tidy condition. Cleaning equipment is located in the cleaning cupboard to the rear of the kitchen. Any spillages MUST be cleared up. To avoid damage to the wood floor, chairs and tables are NOT to be dragged across the floor. Chairs must be transported from and to the designated storage area using the chair trolley provided.
d) At the end of the hire period the Hirer shall be responsible for locking up the Hall and returning the keys to the Bookings Secretary. Before locking up, all toilets must be checked. All windows and doors must be checked to ensure they are securely closed or locked. If the heating system has been turned up, this must be returned to its original setting. All lights must be switched off.
e) Cycle clubs are advised that CLEATS must NOT be worn in the hall. Damage to the floor will result in loss of the Security Deposit and the Hirer will be liable for the full cost of repairs.

9. Sale of Alcohol

a) The Hirer shall be responsible for arranging the necessary licence, and observing all the conditions of that licence, if alcohol is to be sold on the Hall premises during the hire period.

10. Bouncy Castles

a) To protect the floor, bouncy castles may not be erected or used inside the hall. They can be used in the garden section of the hall's grounds subject to the following conditions:
b) Any hirer planning to use a bouncy castle in the hall's grounds is responsible for ensuring that the operator i) has valid public liability insurance in place; ii) carries out a proper risk assessment before the castle is erected and used; iii) provides adequate adult supervision during the whole period of use within the hall's grounds.
c) Neither Birch Parish Council or the hall's management committee accept any liability for injury or loss suffered due to the use of a bouncy castle on its premises.