THE future of Halstead Antiques Centre has been secured.

One of the premier tourist attractions in the town, and an important centre for trade, has been at risk since Townsford Mill was sold.

However, following discussions between the respective owners, an agreement has been reached which recognises what an asset the centre is to the town.

The plan had been to replace everything in the former mill with a hotel.

The problem is some of those staying at the hotel would have been coming, at least partly, to see the centre their room had replaced.

Instead there will be a bed and breakfast, subject to planning permission, and the centre will remain.

Buyers, traders and collectors are likely to be at the front of the queue for rooms and it is hoped it will be a long queue.

People are often quick to put down where they live and this applies whether you are from Colchester, Chelmsford, Braintree or Halstead.

But visitors come for the jewels in the crown and the centre is certainly one of them, which is good news for the prospective B&B.

Another jewel is the beauty of the town thanks, in part, to the incredible work of the Halstead in Bloom committee and volunteers.

It is coming up to crunch time with Halstead seeking to defend its Anglia crown and add the national one too as the judges make their way here.

Whether the town wins or not people should be proud because not only do enough residents care enough to get off their sofas and make their town better, brighter and more beautiful but their efforts help bring people in.

This helps the pubs, shops and cafés and all the other businesses in the area.

A vibrant town is a successful town and what makes a town stand out must be nurtured, protected and developed.

Which brings us back to the antiques centre.

An iconic business in an iconic building.

A great fit precisely where it is and something which residents can be proud of.

Change the bad things, the things that are not quite good enough, focus on the negatives to turn them around.

And certainly don’t do the opposite. The news about the antiques centre is good for the town and for its people.