Schoolboy Fights Tesco’s Plans For A New Store In Halstead

Halstead Woodland Near High Street
Halstead Woodland Near High Street
There area marked red is the woodland to the east of Halstead High Street which could be the site of a new Tesco store.


21st January, 2013.

Application number 12/01375, 12/01374 & 12/01405 for Tesco in Halstead was refused. One councillor said that it was the largest collection of objection letters from organisations and public he had ever seen. It was clear that there was a lot of opposition on many grounds. Tesco were found to be lacking in ability to carry out any biodiversity checks, apparently only looking for bats in daylight hours. They also did not include any lighting structures in their plans, which would have been eight metres high and a significant impact on neighbouring properties. The highways department found they had not taken heed of previous recommendations and access was totally inadequate. 

Tesco Planning To Build On Woodland in Halstead

4th January, 2013

Tesco are planning to build a new store in the centre of Halstead, Essex. However, Halstead schoolboy Billybob Penn has put forward a request to save the local woodland and its wartime bunkers to be saved.

The wartime shelters were built for Halstead workers. They are some of the best preserved shelters in the area. They are also in some beautiful natural woodland, which is a rarity in towns these days.

Billybob is raising awareness of the plans through a leafleting campaign, with the help of his mum, Eileen Penn.

Tesco signed a contract with Braintree District council in 2011 to build a store in the town on the land east of the High street in Halstead

Braintree council will have to consider his objections before deciding if Tesco can build a new store in the town.

Tesco say that the store will bring new jobs to the town and improve shopping facilities. However, Halstead is one of the last traditional Essex towns and some residents may prefer to keep it simple.

Which is best for Halstead? Trees or Tesco?

Tesco Objection Update

8th January, 2013

An update from Alison Shea.

Stop TESCO destroying Woodland and Air Raid Shelters
There has been a terrific response to the petition, with 550 signatures so far. The many letters of objections total well over 145 so far and continue to grow. The Essex Highways department are recommending that planning permission be refused due to in adequate access. We also now have the backing of Essex Field Club who have written in a very strong objection letter. This along with previous others form Halstead Council, The Essex Wildlife Trust, Essex County Council Historic Buildings and Conservation Department, Boyer Planning on instructions from the Co-op, BDC Landscapes etc. should help considerably.

I have also discovered that in Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

This means that it is a criminal offence to:

  1. Deliberately capture, injure or kill a bat
  2. Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat in its roost or deliberately disturb a group of bats
  3. Damage or destroy a bat roosting place (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time)
  4. Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost

The many air raid shelters on the land in question are known to be a prime roosting place for the numerous bats that are frequently seen flying over adjoining properties. Newts are also protected and the damp conditions, with natural springs the ideal breading ground.

I believe that all but one of the following landowners are wishing to sell out to Tesco.

Braintree District Council, National Westminster Bank, Lloyds Premises, Salvation Army.

The Rev John Francis Blore (of St Andrews Church), Brian Fleet, G E Cook & Sons, G J & S Properties Ltd

Braintree District Council now has approximately another 2 weeks to consider the application and  objections, which  takes us up to about 23th January. Comments and objection letters can still be submitted – at least for the time being, especially if any new evidence or reasons can be discovered in support of the refusal of the plans.

Tesco’s plans are now for a very large store 2,825 square metres and a 200 space car park. This will mean the destruction of all the air raid shelters, along with nearly all the trees; most with preservation orders. They have not taken into account the biodiversity value of the land that contains so much wildlife.

Letters of objection can still be sent to : – Braintree District Council, Planning Department, Causeway House, Braintree, CM7 9HB quoting APPLICATION NO. 12/01373/FUL & 12/01374 & 12/01405/LBC    Objections can also be sent  by email to  [email protected]  All can be viewed on-line at where details of the application are on display.   Just enter 12/01373 or 12/01374 and 12/01405 in Application Number box, after clicking on planning.

Read more about the plans:

3 Comments on “Schoolboy Fights Tesco’s Plans For A New Store In Halstead”

  1. I see Halstead Council commissioned GVA to report on retail matters in 2010, then out of the blue, Tesco (GVA’s client) applies for planning permission.
    No surprises here.
    Firm of Westminster lobbyists and HMG policy advisers advances interests of clients via local planning system. So why do officers (who act under delegated powers) use GVA so often?

  2. Update from Alison O’Shea:

    I have been contacted by the Halstead Gazette today, to say that they have just heard that Tesco are not going to appeal, which is great news! Thank you so much to everyone who signed the petition and took the time and effort to write the many objection letters, it really did help. It just shows what can be accomplished when we all act together.

    So, a very big thank you to all.

    Best Wishes,


  3. This would have brought business to the (dying) High Street (given its proximity) as well as much-needed employment to this increasingly deprived corner of Essex.

    You’ve got your crumbling lumps of rubbish-filled (have you actually looked in them?!) concrete, sorry historic bomb shelters, you’ve preserved the past, but what are you doing for the future of the town?

    So you don’t want Tesco – but what ARE you doing to resurrect Halstead and make it the bustling market town it once was? (is the answer “nothing”?)

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