Hopes for new hall to serve ‘21st century Buxted’

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Buxted villagers continue to fight on after Wealden’s controversial new ban on building within seven kilometres of the Ashdown Forest appears to rule out their long-awaited village hall scheme on Ionides Trust land.

The Parish Council has reluctantly withdrawn its current planning application for the new village hall on the site which was part of the vision of a ‘Heart for Buxted’. This is because the Inspector has now ratified Wealden’s Core Strategy which includes the seven km zone round the Forest where development is severely restricted.

However discussions are still ongoing with the council whereby it’s hoped agreement can be reached for a hall which meets the needs of 21st century Buxted with sufficient parking on site. A Trustee added: “Of course, if we ever get the planning permission we deserve, we only have to overcome the small problem of raising enough funds to build it!”

Meanwhile on November 17 members of the Ionides Trust joined residents to plant a millennium oak and a hundred plants all donated by the Woodland Trust to create a hedge for wildlife on land near where the hall would have been built.

The hedge and the oak were were planted against the fence that separates the wildlife reserve area from the rest of Ionides land.

The Trust also purchased four large trees, a Wild Service tree, pin oak and two wild cherry trees. The pin oak was bought with the help of The Penguins, a group of Buxted women who meet regularly, and was planted in memory of founder member Christina Harrison.

This tree and the two cherries can now be seen along the hedge line next to the Framfield Road.

Workers were fortified by a regular supply of tea, coffee and cakes.

The Trust would like to thank everyone who so cheerfully de-turfed, dug holes and worked hard to beautify the village.

There is now regular rental income from the health centre so projects such as tree planting can be carried out to improve the appearance of the land and make it more enjoyable for everyone. .

Trustees hope this will be the first of several projects aimed at enhancing the open space.