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Plans for brand new park to be built on derelict site in Halstead

PUBLISHED: 18:05 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:59 19 July 2018

The land east of the High Street, where the campaigners hope to create a brand new park Picture: HALSTEAD 21ST CENTURY

The land east of the High Street, where the campaigners hope to create a brand new park Picture: HALSTEAD 21ST CENTURY

HALSTEAD 21ST CENTURY

A derelict site could be transformed into a brand new park thanks to a vision by a group of ambitious campaigners.

Barbara Root, stood beside one of the old air raid shelters on the site. The picture was taken around 1939, just after the shelters were built. Picture: THE ROOT FAMILYBarbara Root, stood beside one of the old air raid shelters on the site. The picture was taken around 1939, just after the shelters were built. Picture: THE ROOT FAMILY

The plan, orchestrated by Halstead 21st Century – a group which brings together locals keen to preserve the town’s heritage – would involve breathing new life into the site just east of the town’s High Street, which has been left abandoned for half a century.

The blueprint, labelled the ‘New Vision’, maps out plans for restoring a Victorian garden, creating a heritage area, wildlife zone and play area. and making space available for new homes.

A spokesperson for the group said that the site had once been a hub of the town, but had fallen into disrepair over the years.

“Since the end of WW2, the site’s numerous owners have neglected it,” they said. “It’s been the playground of generations of Halstead kids, but it’s also fallen victim to fly tipping and antisocial behaviour.

“It has a unique combination of assets and we can see its huge potential – yet it’s under threat of development. But we have our own vision of regenerating the land in ways that will benefit the community.

“It wouldn’t need major development. A light touch could bring new life to this site and would conserve and enhance our town’s heritage and natural assets and help our economy.

“This is a real opportunity to turn a neglected area right in the centre of our town into a space that residents of all ages can enjoy.”

The group also hopes to restore and find new uses for the rare group of sixteen historic World War Two air raid shelters currently contained on the site.

While the group is keen to see the changes through, a spokesperson acknowledged other applications were likely to be made by housing developers, which could prove difficult to contend with.

However, if all else fails, the group said it would be willing to work alongside developers to incorporate part of their vision – even if it was not achievable in its entirety.

As part of the planning process, the group is inviting Halstead residents to hear its ambitious proposals, view the outline plans and give their views at a public meeting.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, July 26 at the United Reformed Church, Halstead at 7.30pm.

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