Many local residents became concerned about an area close to Halstead High Street in 2012, when Tesco sought planning permission to build a supermarket and car park on it. The site seemed remarkable, containing natural springs, woodland, a Victorian garden and a rare group of sixteen WWII air raid shelters. Over a hundred objections were made against the planning application, and some objectors joined forces in a bid to save the land and shelters.
In January 2013 Braintree District Council made a strong case against the supermarket development, and planning permission to develop the air raid shelter site was refused. Despite this small victory, campaigners soon realised that it would remain at risk, and that other valued parts of our local area were under threat too. And so Halstead 21st Century Group was formed to promote and protect our local heritage and open spaces.