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Welcome to West Bergholt sign

West Bergholt is a large rural Essex village located amongst open countryside.  Country walks include the stunning Hillhouse Woods & St Mary’s Old Church.  It is located near the border of Essex & Suffolk and just outside and to the North-west  of Colchester   – Britain’s Oldest Recorded town. The village:

Covid-19 Virus

In 2016 West Bergholt won the Class 2 prize in the RCCE Village of the year competition and overall 2nd place, read the news item for more.

If you need support locally during the COVID-19 pandemic click here for information about our local enhanced Care Network service.  More general COVID-19 support and advice is here.

To find out more about us click here.  Scroll down to see recent news from the village.

What’s Happening

Bear in mind some activities might still be affected due to COVID-19

See more events here.

Vacancy for Parish Clerk

Vacancy for Parish Clerk

With the impending retirement of our current Parish Clerk we are seeking a new, enthusiastic and forward looking replacement.  Salary pro rata £23k – £25k for a 15-20 hour week.

Clerk to the Parish Council – Vacancy

Owing to retirement, West Bergholt Parish Council is seeking a new Clerk for this busy and forward-thinking council.

West Bergholt Parish Council seeks a suitable experienced person with sound administrative and managerial skills and knowledge of local government who can assist in the formation and review of Council policies.

If you are a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual who is capable of running the Parish Council office whilst managing your own workload then we would like to hear from you. The Clerk’s roles and responsibilities are summarised in the Job Description below.

The role will require direct contact with not only parishioners but also a wide range of individuals towards building effective partnerships.   It requires a flexible approach with the determination to meet demanding deadlines.

Whilst the hours are negotiable and subject to review some evening meetings will be required.

Salary range: Initially £22,937 to £25,440 pro-rata for a 15 – 20 hour week dependent on experience and qualifications, with progression through bar to the range from £26,293 to £29,558 after meeting specific standards set out in our career grade salary structure.

The Parish Council offers nationally-based contract of employment terms and conditions and encourages further training and development applicable to the role.


Applications should be submitted in writing to Mrs Val Walsom either by e-mail in pdf format to [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] or by post to 17 Armoury Road, West Bergholt, Colchester CO6 3JN.

Applicants are expected to supply relevant contact details; previous experience and employment details relevant to this position and why they qualify for the position.  We would be keen to understand what added value the council and the community can expect from the applicant in this role.  Whilst applicants may provide a CV if they wish they must specifically address each statement within this paragraph via an accompanying letter.

Applicants are expected to hold the CiLCA qualification or be willing to undertake this qualification within a reasonable time frame of the appointment.  Must be computer literate and accustomed to working with common Microsoft office applications (or equivalent) including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Office computer equipment will be provided.

Closing Date & Interviews

Closing date for receipt of applications is Friday 27th March 2015.

Interviews will be arranged following the closing date.

Job Description – Clerk to the Council

Overall Responsibilities.

The Clerk to the Council will be the Proper Officer of the Council and as such is under a statutory duty to carry out all the functions, and in particular to serve or issue all the notifications required by law of a local authority’s Proper Officer.  The Clerk will be totally responsible for ensuring that the instructions of the Council in connection with its function as a Local Authority are carried out.  The Clerk is expected to advise the Council on, and assist in the formation of, overall policies to be followed in respect of the Authority’s activities and in particular to produce all the information required for making effective decisions and to implement constructively all decisions.  The person appointed will be accountable to the Council for the effective management of all its resources and will report to them as and when required.

The Clerk will be responsible for all financial records of the Council together with the careful administration of its finances.

The Council has sole management responsibility for a number of Trusts within the village with all Councillors being Trustees for these Trusts.  The Clerk’s role and responsibilities summarised below, extend to administering these Trusts as appropriate.

Specific Responsibilities

  1. To ensure that statutory and other provisions governing or affecting the running of the Council are observed.
  2. To monitor and balance the Council’s accounts and prepare records for audit purposes and VAT.
  3. To ensure that the Council’s obligations for Risk Assessment are properly met.
  4. To prepare, in consultation with appropriate members, agendas for meetings of the Council and Committees. To attend such meetings and prepare minutes for approval, other than where such duties have been delegated to another Officer.
  5. To attend all meetings of the Council and all Finance, Policy and Personnel (FPP) sub-committee meetings.
  6. To receive correspondence and documents on behalf of the Council and to deal with the correspondence or documents or bring such items to the attention of the Council. To issue correspondence as a result of instructions of, or the known policy of the Council.
  7. To receive and report on invoices for goods and services to be paid for by the Council and to ensure such accounts are met. To issue invoices on behalf of the Council for goods and services and to ensure payment is received.
  8. To study reports and other data on activities of the Council and on matters bearing on those activities. Where appropriate, to discuss such matters with administrators and specialists in particular fields and to produce reports for circulation and discussion by the Council.
  9. To draw up both on his/her own initiative and as a result of suggestions by Councillors, proposals for consideration by the Council and to advise on practicability and likely effects of specific courses of action.
  10. To supervise any other members of staff as their line manager in keeping with the policies of the Council and to undertake all necessary activities in connection with the management of salaries, conditions of employment and work of other staff.
  11. To monitor the implemented policies and procedures whether these are statutory or otherwise of the Council to ensure they are achieving the desired result and where appropriate suggest modifications to the Council for change as appropriate.
  12. To act as the representative of the Council as required.
  13. To issue notices and prepare agendas and minutes for the Parish Meeting: to attend the assemblies of the Parish Meeting and to implement the decisions made at the assemblies that are agreed by the Council.
  14. To prepare, in consultation with the Chairman, press releases about the activities of, or decisions of, the Council.
  15. Establish and maintain clear communications for publicising Council business within an increasingly electronic age.
  16. To attend training courses or seminars on the work and role of the Clerk as required by the Council.
  17. To work towards the achievement and then maintain the status of Qualified Clerk as a minimum requirement for effectiveness in the position of Clerk to the Council.
  18. To continue to acquire the necessary professional knowledge required for the efficient management of the affairs of the Council: Suggested is membership of your professional body The Society of Local Council Clerks.
  19. Foundation-Quality-StandardThe Parish Council achieved Quality Status (Foundation level) in December 2014.  It is the Parish Councils intention to achieve Gold level in 2015 and the Clerk must make all reasonable efforts to ensure this award is achieved by December 2015.   In meeting this requirement the Clerk must, as a minimum, complete all training required of a Clerk if the Council is to achieve “Gold” level status.
  20. The Clerk is expected to manage all change requirements introduced by the NALC or the SLCC that may be introduced which are necessary for the Council to retain the highest level of “Quality” status.
  21. To attend sector related conferences and seminars or other relevant bodies, as the Councils representative when authorised by the Parish Council Chairman or designate.



Quality Standard for Parish Council

Foundation-Quality-StandardQuality Standard for Parish Council

The Essex & National Association of Local Councils (EALC & NALC) have recently accredited West Bergholt Parish Council as one of the first to be awarded their Foundation Quality Standard under a pilot scheme which is being launched formally on 6th January 2015.  The new Local Council Award Scheme has been designed to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils, and to provide a framework to support all local councils to improve and develop to meet their full potential.  The scheme offers councils the opportunity to show that they meet the standards set by the sector, assessed by their peers, and to put in place the conditions for continued improvement.

The Award Scheme has been designed to provide the tools and encouragement to those councils at the beginning of their improvement journeys, as well as promoting and recognising councils that are at the cutting edge of the sector.  It is only through the sector working together, to share best practice, drive up standards and supporting those who are committed to improving their offer to their communities that individual councils and the sector as a whole will reach its full potential.

Commenting on the West Bergholt application the judging panel said:

Panel Members agreed that this was a good application and the Council had provided excellent information on its web site.  The web site was well organised and easy to navigate.
The Bulletin was excellent giving up to date information.
The Panel unanimously agreed that Foundation Level of the Standards of Practice Scheme were met.
The Quality Standard will also have 2 further levels of accreditation, including a ‘Gold’ level, when launched but this was not a part of the pilot scheme that West Bergholt participated in; the Chair of the Parish Council, John Gili-Ross, in response to the award notification, said:
Achieving the foundation level is very satisfying from a Councillors perspective but our community deserves a “Gold Quality” Council and it is our objective to give them one in 2015.

We’re prepared for an emergency

emergency planAn Emergency Plan for West Bergholt

This is a plan which has been developed by the Parish Council with the help of Colchester Borough Council and the Emergency Services to help us in the village cope with an unforeseen situation which needs rapid and decisive action.  Emergencies can occur with little or no warning and could be caused by many different factors including:

  • Natural disaster,
  • Severe weather,
  • Technological / industrial accidents,
  • Power failures,
  • Failure of communications (e.g. telephones or broadband),
  • Transport disruption and village cut off,
  • Terrorism.

The risk to the village from any of these events is small and difficult to assess.  In the event of a situation deemed to be an emergency The Borough Council is the responsible body that will work with the Emergency Services.  Our role is strictly to support these actions.  The village plan focuses on how The Parish Council would assist in providing an emergency Reception Centre and how it could support vulnerable village residents.  The document  is deliberately short and hopefully of practical use, to view it click the link – West Bergholt Emergency Plan.

To carry out our role the Parish Council needs access to a team of volunteers who could carry out activities such as staffing a Reception Centre at the Orpen Hall.  Various village groups do already have such volunteers and these will be contacted but should you be willing to assist in such activity please contact Harry Stone through the Parish Clerk  [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].

The Parish Council believes that in some emergency situations (e.g. prolonged power failure in severe weather) some vulnerable residents could be at risk. A list of such residents is to be compiled although it is appreciated that holding such information has to be handled sensitively and with the accepted protection.  Again existing organisations such as the Care Network and Churches will be contacted but also if a possible resident who it is known has no regular contact from relatives or friends please inform the Parish Clerk.  No name will be added without personal contact being made and their agreement.

St Mary the Virgin to get a new priest

St Mary the Virgin
St Mary the Virgin

The Archdeacon of Colchester, the Venerable Annette Cooper, has recently issued the following announcement which affects St Mary’s Church:

I am pleased to let you know that The Revd. Mandy Elmes has accepted my invitation to become the Priest in Charge of Langham with Boxted and West Bergholt with Great Horkesley.  Please make this announcement in all of your churches on Sunday morning. It is of course subject to the completion of all the necessary legal checks.  Currently Mandy is serving as a Self-Supporting Associate Priest in the West Mersea benefice.  Mandy, who is married to Paul will be moving to the Rectory at West Bergholt in the early summer following her holiday already booked in the first half of July.


West Bergholt celebrates its volunteers

Poster for Annual Parish Meeting 2013The Annual Parish Meeting takes place on 24th April starting at 7pm in the John Lampon Hall.   As well as affording an opportunity for informal discussions with your local Parish & Borough Councillors this is an ideal opportunity to join them in celebrating our many local volunteers who help make West Bergholt as good a place to live as it is.

Other items for the event include:

  • a report on Neighbourhood Planning, and
  • light refreshments!

Bergholt Heath YFC – Results & Fixtures 24th February 2013

On on very cold Sunday morning, the Under 8s played their last game of a tough February, at home to Feering Falcons.   The visitors made the better start and by half time they were 4 goals to the good, including a superb solo effort.  The second half saw Bergholt finally get going, and they took the game to the visitors and started making their defence work, whilst remaining largely untroubled.   However another cracking effort saw the visitors add one more to their half time tally.   Bergholt Heath player of the match: James Pomphrett.

The Under 10s were away to Long Melford and came away with a hard earned 2-1 victory, courtesy of goals from Jonah Murray and Thomas Whitlow.

Our Under 14s were at home to Halstead Town in a “A” league clash on a bumpy and hard Poors field pitch which made football quite difficult.  Bergholt ran out comfortable, if not somewhat underwhelming 2-0 winners, with both goals coming in the second half of this uneventful match: one goal each for James Holden and Sam Clark.  Bergholt Heath ‘man of the match’: Sam Clark.

The Under 18s had a spare weekend with no scheduled fixture.

Next weeks games – Sunday 3rd March:

  • Lexden Saints vs Under 8
  • Colchester Athletic vs Under 10
  • FC Clacton Reds vs Under 14 – League Cup R3
  • Frinton & Walton Blues vs Under 18

Parish Council Meeting

The Agenda for the next Parish Council meeting has just been published, will they be discussing anything of importance to you?  Don’t forget members of the public are welcome to attend and, if registered electors, are able to make use of the first 15 minutes which is allotted for questions to be raised with the council.

The meeting starts at 7:30pm on Wednesday 27th February in the John Lampon Hall.

Traffic Safety Success

Essex County Council has agreed to a range of traffic calming measures in the vicinity of Heathlands School.  The suggestions were previously referenced in a local news update just 2 weeks ago and it is great news that ECC have agreed to the following:

  • West Bergholt – around Heathlands school – New Church Road
Flat Top table at each end, including lighting; Build out at Mumford Close including footpath link, lighting and signing; Parking restrictions at junctions New Church Road/lexden Road/school lane and chapel road; school keep clear markings, school warning sign and SLOW marking
  • West Bergholt – around Heathlands school – School Lane
Flat Top Table from junction with Colchester Road; Parking restrictions at junction school Lane and Colchester Road; school warning signs and SLOW markings on carriageway.
  • Lexden Road
School warning signs and Slow Markings
  • Chapel Road
School warning signs and Slow Markings

The Council has noted that there may be some concerns about these schemes and have said:

Lighting may be an issue with Local Residents as New Church Road is currently unlit. Power supply required – overhead supply required.  Noise/vibration from vehicles travelling over humps may concern residents.  School should consult with local residents before works begin.