Welcome to Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten Parish Council website


Contact Clerk: Diane Smith 

Tel: 01787 279288

e-mail: belchamps.pc@gmail.com


Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten are situated in the beautiful Stour Valley on the Essex/Suffolk border.

A distintive landscape with many ancient villages that has inspired such famous artists as John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. The Belchamps are mentioned in the Domesday Book. 

These two beautiful villages, deep in the heart of East Anglia, each have a public house and Belchamp St Paul also has a very well respected Primary School and The Community House. 




Are you in an area where it is still not possible to receive Superfast Broadband? Then read on....Last year large areas of Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten were able to receive Superfast Broadband for the first time thanks to an extension of the fibre network into the village. However the Parish Council know that there are still pockets of properties where this service in NOT available. If this applies to you it is VITAL that you notify Superfast Essex before the end of March 2017 so that they can update their records and put you on the list for future expansion schemes. Notification MUST come from individual householders (rather than in bulk from the PC) and if Superfast Essex do not receive notifications from residents in an area they will assume that the Broadband availability is satisfactory.

Copies of the full letters from Superfast Broadband, explaining the process in greater detail, are on this website at the bottom of the 'Minutes' page.


MEETING WITH ENERGY RESERVOIRS ON 10 JANUARY 2017    (Posted 3 January 2017)   

Energy Reservoirs are intending to submit a planning application to site an energy storage system, using batteries, near the Belchamp electricity substation. They have requested a meeting with the Parish Council to provide further details of the scheme and this will be held on 10 January at 7pm in The Community House (immediately prior to the regular Council meeting). The meeting will be open to the public.


BDC LOCAL PLAN   (Posted 8 June. Updated 1 July, 19 August, 14 September and 10 October)

BDC approved the draft Local Plan at their meeting on 20 June and arranged a series of exhibitions at various venues throughout the District.  The plans can be viewed online at www.braintree.gov.uk/consultlp . The period for comments to be submitted on the Local Plan has now ended.The Local Plan is not supporting any residential development in the villages of Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten. 

Next Steps: 

- September to November 2016 - BDC consider the public consultation responses and make revisions to the Plan as appropriate.  

- Winter 2016   - Second public consultation    

- Spring 2017  - Submission of Local Plan to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration  

- Summer/Autumn 2017 - Independent public examination held on the Local Plan by the Planning Inspector    

- Early 2018 - Adoption of Local Plan by BDC


PARISH COUNCIL AUDIT RETURN / ACCOUNTS (Posted 8 June. Updated 15 June and 14 September)

The Parish Council accounts for 2015-16 are available on the website alongwith a copy of the audited Annual Return - see under 'Accounts Documents'. The Annual Return is available for inspection by any local government elector and copies can be provided for a small charge. Please contact the Clerk to arrange an appointment.



All households receive a regular supply of Recycling Bags direct from BDC. If however you run out before the next scheduled delivery you can obtain an emergency supply from the Clerk. 


IMPORTANT CHANGES TO THE LOCAL BUS SERVICE (Posted 2 April Updated 8 June 2016 )

Following a review of all bus services in Essex, ECC will be replacing the existing bus routes and services with “Demand Responsive Transport” (DaRT) in many rural areas, including BSP and BO.

Instead of set routes and timetables you will ring 01621 874411 and book a journey in advance. The DaRT system will use minibuses operated by Arrow Taxis Essex Ltd (on behalf of ECC) and you can choose your day and time and also agree a pick up point to suit you (normally your home). The service will be available Monday to Saturday anytime between 6am and 8pm and trolleys and wheelchairs can be accommodated. Bookings can be made up to 2 months ahead or with as little as 2 hours’ notice. They can be for individuals or groups.

You can use the service to go shopping in Sudbury, Halstead and Haverhill or to connect with other bus or train services in those towns. It can also be used for health appointments in Clare and Sible Hedingham and for the Community Hospitals in Sudbury and Halstead. Alternatively you can use it to get to work or college or just to visit friends in local villages. Concessionary bus passes will be accepted (Mon to Fri after 9am and all day Saturday).

The new system launched on 11 April but went fully responsive on 1 June 2016. Leaflets giving more details are available in the Parish Council notice boards or from the Clerk or you can also visit www.essex.gov.uk/publictransport.



AW have launched a new campaign to ensure that all incidents of sewage pollution are dealt with as quickly as possible to minimise the impact on the environment. They are investing £5.5m in network maintenance but if you spot any potential sewage pollution issues you can ring their dedicated Pollution Hotline 03457 145145 to report them and so enable them to respond sooner and look after our rivers and waterways.



UK Power Networks are the people who are responsible for keeping the electricity on in our area, regardless of your chosen energy supplier. They own and maintain all the electricity lines and cables. They keep a list of ‘vulnerable residents’ on their Priority Services Register so that if there is a power cut they can ensure that those who need it will receive extra support. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they can get the power back on more quickly but they can provide a priority 24 hour telephone number/ regular text or phone updates/ extra support from the British Red Cross to visit your home during an emergency (they’ll check with you first).

If you are elderly or disabled, have young children or rely on specialised medical equipment then you can apply to go onto the Priority Services Register at www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority.



Over the last few months Superfast Essex have been working to extend the Fibre network to Belchamp St Paul and Belchamp Otten. This work was completed in mid February and villagers can now sign up for the service. The new service is available to almost all properties in the villages but you can check if this includes you by going to the Superfast Essex website and viewing their Interactive Map (www.superfastessex.org/maps )  

The new download speeds will vary depending on how close a customer lives to the new cabinet (junction of Vicarage Road/ Church Street/Otten road), the closest will get up to 80Mb, after about half a mile that might have dropped to 40Mb and for those over a mile away it could drop to 24Mb. Upload speeds will be in the range 6-10Mb. The following speed checker can be used to determine the expected speed using phone numbers (more accurate) or postcodes.  

Speed checker: http://www.dslchecker.bt.com/adsl/ADSLChecker.Telephone?URL=&SP_NAME=a%20service%20provider&VERSION=40&MS=E&CAP=no&AEA=yes  

In order to get the Superfast Broadband you need to contact your broadband provider and ask for a quote to upgrade to the new service - you will not be connected automatically. All sevice providers (BT, Talk Talk, Plusnet etc) will offer the service but charges will vary slightly depending on the exact package offered. As an indication of likely costs, most service providers willmake a charge for a new hub plus in the region of £3-5 extra per month for the improved service. It is likely to take 2- 3 weeks for the new service to become operational once the order is placed.  

Please tell your neighbours and spread the word that this important upgrade is now available in the villages. 



A defibrillator has been installed on the front wall of The Community House for use by residents in an emergency (to restart someone's heart). The defibrillator is in a locked cabinet and in an emergency you need to dial '999'  (from your mobile phone) to obtain the code to release it. The machine then 'talks you through' exactly what you need to do, step by step, to operate it successfully. Anyone can therefore use it at any time.  

The Parish Council organised a defibrillator training session, run by Essex Ambulance Service, on 25 February 2016 to allow local residents to familiarise themselves with the defibrillator and receive some basic First Aid advise. Everyone who attended found this very useful. If you missed this training session but would be interested in future sessions please contact the Parish Clerk Diane Smith. If there is sufficient interest more training sessions may be arranged.



BRAINTREE DISTRICT COUNCIL LOCAL PLAN - CALL FOR SITES (Posted 28 December 2015 - Updated 22 January,8 February 2016 and 24 February)  

As part of the Local Plan process, BDC has invited landowners to submit potential development sites for consideration. A total of 344 sites have been put forward throughout the Braintree District, providing potential sites for up to 41,254 homes. The Local Plan needs to identify sites for between 12,000 and 15,000 homes. Each site submitted is initially being assessed against specific criteria including the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA). Those sites fulfilling the criteria will then be taken forward to the next stage and BDC will at that time carry out extensive consultations with key stakeholders, including Parish Councils, and the public. Following the consultation process a further review will be carried out by BDC and the most appropriate sites will be selected to incorporate into the new Local Plan.  

Locally, 5 sites have been submitted by landowners in Belchamp St Paul (2) and Belchamp Otten (3). BDC has already taken a policy decision to dismiss all sites providing less than 5 homes and 2 of the Belchamp Otten sites (BELO 106 and BELO 107) fall into this category so they are likely to be dismissed. The other 3 sites submitted are currently being assessed by BDC. These sites are as follows:  

BELP 108 - Land north of Vicarage Road, Belchamp St Paul (opposite the junction with Otten Road) - 2.5 hectares - Potentially "up to 50 residential units."  

BELP 109 - Land off Church Street, Belchamp St Paul (on the left hand side past Browns Farm) - 1350 sq metres - Potentially."up to 8 semi detached 2 bed residential units."  

BELO 105 - Land north of The Street, Belchamp Otten (from the junction with Fowes Lane eastwards almost to Poplar Cottage) - 0.8 hectares - Potentially "small affordable housing units."  

The Council have been consulted on all 5 sites submitted within the parishes and at the February Council meeting they agreed to submit comments (separately for each village) to the BDC Local Plan process. The Council's response letters have been uploaded to the 'Minutes section' of this website for public information.

Members of the public will have an opportunity to comment on the Call for Sites in a few months time. Please keep an eye on the website for updates and information as to when and where comments can be made.