Concerned residents have launched a petition over plans to allow houses to be built on a popular picnic area.

The group, spearheaded by Halstead Chamber of Trade chairman, Anne-Maree Robertson, are angry with Braintree Council’s decision to earmark recreational land at the back of the former Halstead Senior Citizens’ Centre in New Street, known as the picnic field, for affordable housing.

Under the latest draft of council’s Local Development Framework (LDF), which will map out what kind of development would be suitable and where, between now and 2026, housing could be built on both sites.

Mrs Robertson, who is concerned about the loss of valuable green space in the town, claims she has already collected about 80 signatures, while at least five other copies of the petition are also in circulation in the town.

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