A BID to build a new community centre in Halstead has moved a step closer.

The Halstead Community Centre Charity Company was set up to spearhead the project.

It has now been given a boost after Braintree Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to pass an application to put up temporary hoardings at the Broton Drive site

Plans for the community centre have been in the pipeline for more than five years.

The hoardings are needed so the site can be safely decontaminated after it was discovered industrial debris was present on the heavily overgrown land.

An original application for the hoardings was recommended for refusal in February.

The trust pulled the application to make necessary changes, including adding holes in the hoardings to allow hedgehogs to get through.

After making the changes and resubmitting the application, the trust, which took out a 999-year lease on the land back in 2016, finally got the go-ahead.

The trustees will have to reapply for planning permission to build on the site once it is decontaminated after their 2015 application expired a few months ago.

Halstead councillor Jackie Pell is a trustee of the Halstead Community Centre Charity Company.

She said: “We’re pleased that we’ve definitely got permission and when the hoardings are up we can start to think about tidying up the site.

“It’s a relief because this has been going on for so long, but it feels like we’ve taken a first step in the right direction.

“There are still things to do. We’ve got to work out the money side of it so this won’t just happen tomorrow.

“I don’t know when the hoardings will go up but the trustees will be meeting to discuss this further. We need to talk about this but I don’t want to be giving people false hope just yet.”

Trustees are set to meet this week to discuss the next steps they need to take to bring Halstead closer to having its own community centre.

Braintree Council also wants the trust to make the hoardings as visually appealing as possible to avoid creating an eyesore.