Protecting and Conserving
An early project involved part of Halstead Public Gardens. Although they were gifted to the townspeople of Halstead in 1901, Braintree District Council assumed ownership in the 1974 local government reorganisation. In 2015 we learned that most of the park was to become a Centenary Field and therefore would be protected in perpetuity through an arrangement made with an organisation called Fields in Trust. The remaining section, known as the Picnic Field and next to a potential development site, would not be protected.
Halstead 21st Century Group appealed to the town council to have the area registered as an Asset of Community Value. With mediation from a local town district councillor. Jackie Pell, the Picnic Field was then incorporated in the Centenary Field.
The number of big developments has increased over recent years and that can threaten our local heritage and green spaces. We focus on national and local policies to get our heritage protected. It’s vital then that we take part in the local planning consultations. And making sure that national heritage organisations know about local buildings at risk has led to them adding their support to help save them.
Highlighting significance strengthens the case for protection, so we’ve nominated buildings for the national list and been involved with the Local Heritage List. And we’re currently identifying and surveying local trees to nominate to the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Inventory
, so we’re just as keen on our natural heritage.
Promoting and Educating
Knowing about our heritage is key to protecting it, so we research, curate, exhibit and man displays at local events. We really enjoy taking our displays to different venues, and we love to talk about Halstead’s heritage and hear other people’s stories.
We make presentations and put on talks by others too, and we hope that they’re as entertaining as they are educational.
We want as many people as possible to be involved with our heritage and use social media to engage people online. And this website will provide new ways of exploring Halstead’s heritage, so please visit again to check our news page and find out about future website developments.
Enhancing and Engaging
Some of our aims overlap with other community groups and it’s not unusual for us to join shared ventures. We support The Halstead River Care Team and often take part in monthly cleaning sessions. And more recently, Trustees have worked to support the River Improvement Group’s efforts to transform the River Colne along in Halstead town centre.
Set on the River Colne, the iconic Townsford Mill was the starting point for a guided walk for Heritage Open Days in 2019 which ended with an exhibition and special film screening at Halstead’s Empire Theatre. The event was organised with Halstead History Society and the Empire Theatre.
For more information about our activities visit About Us.