Church of St Peter & St Paul, Birch, Essex

Campaigning to save local church in the Birch Conservation area

The location:

Church of St Peter and St Paul, built in 1850 by S.S. Teulon, sits within the Birch Conservation area in Colchester. The Grade II listed building was built in 1850 by Teulon, in flint with limestone dressings. Red plain tile roof, with crested ridges. 

What we did:

We have been heavily involved in this case for almost 30 years since the church first became redundant and have been part of efforts to save the building and find a new viable use. When the Diocese of Chelmsford said it couldn’t find a suitable alternative use, and proposed demolition, Historic Buildings & Places, along with charity North Essex Heritage, the Victorian Society, and English Heritage, campaigned to save the church and supported plans by a local who offered to buy it in 2013. Unfortunately this has been a slow process and over that time the church has fallen into an extremely poor state of repair and is now structurally unsound.  

Colchester Borough Council granted planning permission and listed building consent for a residential conversion in 2020. However, further detailed structural surveys and increased costings mean the proposal is no longer viable and the applicant has pulled out of the project. The pre-application consultation is again for demolition. Given the issues with costs, marketing, viability and structural stability of the tower, our focus has now shifted from objecting to demolition to seeking the careful salvage of the reredos by S.S.Teulon, the East Window by Mary Lowndes and the memorial to Lt Oliver Simpson Bridges, as well as the careful dismantling of the church to allow the reuse of the materials, fixtures and fittings. 

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